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I I I I 
I I I I 


^^^ZIFF-DAVIS 

TESTED IN THIS ISSUE: 

12 Power-User Portables 

6 Web-Based Survey Products 






7 Cool-Looking MP3 Players 

4 Lightweight LCD Projectors 


MAGAZINE 

www.pcmag.com 


Macromedia’s New Web Tools 

PLUS: How to Master Your PDA 


THE INDEPENDENT GUIDE TO TECHNOLOGY FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



And the Technology That 
Makes Them Work 

Our Essential Bookmarks to 
The Web’s Most Useful Sites 




Microsoft 

Windows* 2000. 

The Busi 



With millions of business transactions being conducted daily 
over the Internet, Windows 2000 Advanced Server gives you the 
reliability and scalability to compete in the digital economy. 


Windows 2000 Professional 


The reliable operating system for 

business desktops and laptops. 

• Keeps your users up and running with 
a robust system architecture, support 
for self-healing applications, and 
comprehensive system, application, 
and driver protection. 

• Provides an excellent mobile solution, 
delivering great laptop support — 
plug’n’play, power management, and 
broad device support with integrated 
security and file encryption to protect 
critical business data. 

• Easier to use with enhanced Windows 
user interface, seamless Internet 
integration, and new technology to 
automate setup, management, and 
support of your systems. 



MiccosoJ}' 

rWinck>VVS2000 

Professional 


© a 999 Microsuft CorpoiatK 





ness Internet 

starts here - 



Windows 2000 Professional offline folders 
let you bring your network with you when you 
are on the road. 


Windows 2000 Advanced Server Windows 2000 Datace nter Server. 


The multi-purpose network operating 

system for businesses of all sizes. 

• Internet enable your business with new 
Web and communications services such 
as Internet Information Services 5.0, 
XML support, and integrated Virtual 
Private Networking. 

• Centrally manage or delegate control 
of all your users, applications, and 
network resources with the policy- 
based management tools in the Active 
Directory™ directory service. 

• Increases server uptime with improved 
reliability, advanced memory 
management, and dynamic system 
configuration support. 

• Supports up to 4-way SMP with up 
to 4 GB RAM. 

n^.‘^Wi l Kkj IV vs»OT 


The operating system for 
e-commerce and line of business 
applications. 

Includes everything offered by Windows 
2000 Server, plus: 

• Build and manage scalable Web 
server farms for the most demanding 
e-commerce sites with Network Load 
Balancing to distribute traffic across 
multiple servers. 

• Ensure high availability of your critical 
Web applications and services with 
a 2-node clustering infrastructure. 

• Support demanding enterprise 
applications with 8-way SMP and up 
to 8 GB RAM to provide increased 
server performance and scalability. 


^ ""“Windows 2000 

Advanced Server 


The operating system for business 
solutions that demand the highest 
degree of scalability. 

Includes everything offered by Windows 
2000 Advanced Server, plus: 

• 4-node clusters provide increased 
system availability. 

• Provides the highest level of 
performance and scalability within the 
Windows 2000 line to support mission 
critical solutions like data warehousing, 
on-line transaction processing, and ERP 

• Supports the highest level of Windows 
scalability with up to 32- way SMP and 
up to 64 GB RAM. 



_indows2ooo 

Datacenter Server 


rn All rights* reserved. Microsoft. Active Directory, Windows, the Windows logo, arid Where do you want logo today/' are eithei registered trademarks 01 trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or othei countries 


In business today everything 


ends 

I 

with .com 


Which is why our new operating system 

began with .com 


Microsoft 

Where do you want to go today?* 



The Internet is changing the way every 
business works, every day. Which is why 
we created Microsoft® Windows® 2000, 
a family of server and desktop operating 
systems built on NT technology. It’s the 
operating system built for businesses of 
all sizes, with the most comprehensive set 
of Web services, and the reliability that 
today’s digital economy demands. Because 
it’s Windows you also have the widest 
choice of hardware, software, devices, and 
trained technical professionals. In fact, 
there are already more than 1,000 
applications running on Windows 2000. 

To build your business around the Internet, 
start evaluating Windows 2000 today. 

Go to www.microsoft.com/windows2000/ 



Microsoft* 

Windows 


►2000 




AMD Athlon 600 MHz Processor 


128 MB SyncDRAM 


20.0 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive’ 


10X DVD-ROM Drive 6 


3Dfx Voodoo 3500 16 MB Graphics Card 


Sound Blaster™ Live! Value 
56K ITUV.90 Modem 3 


JBL Pro Premium Speakers w/Subwoofer 


Digital Creativity Imaging Center 4 


10.0 Mbps Home Phoneline Networking Card 8 


Microsoft Featured Home Collection + MS® Word 


Microsoft Windows98 


Compaq CV715 17" Monitor (16.0" VIA) 


^ \ As low as 


$1699 


IJ750 Color Inkjet Printer: Add $149 


8X CD-RW (Read/Writeable) Drive': Add $199 


Intel® Create and Share Camera Pack: Add $99 




Personalize 
by choosing: 


AMD® Athlon™ 550 MHz Processor 


64 MB SyncDRAM 


10.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive’ 


32X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 


3Dfx Voodoo 1000 16 MB Graphics Card 


Creative Labs 1373 Audio 


56K ITUV.90 Modem 3 


JBL Pro Amplified Speakers 


Digital Creativity Imaging Center 4 
Microsoft® Featured Home Collection 


Microsoft Word 


Microsoft Windows®98 


Compaq CV515 15" Monitor (13.8" VIA) 

$1099 

20.0 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive’: Add $50 


$31 


per mo.' 


100 MB Iomega® Zip Built-In™ Drive + 1 disk: Add $79 


IJ300 Color Inkjet Printer: Add $99 


AMD Athlon 600 MHz Processor 


128 MB SyncDRAM 


13.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive' 


32X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 


3Dfx Voodoo 1000 16 MB Graphics Card 


Creative Labs 1373 Audio 


56K ITUV.90 Modem 3 


JBL Pro Amplified Speakers 


Digital Creativity Imaging Center 4 


Microsoft Featured Home Collection 


Microsoft Word 


Microsoft Windows98 


Compaq CV715 17" Monitor (1 6.0" VIA) 

$1399 

IJ300 Color Inkjet Printer: Add $99 


As low as 

$39 per 


6.0Mb Max Digital Modem 5 : Add $99 


APC Back-UPS Pro Office 280: Add $89 


PRESARIO 5900Z-600 
INTERNET PC 


PRESARIO 5900Z-600 
INTERNET PC 


PRESARIO 5900Z-550 
INTERNET PC 



MVP Winner 


PCComputing 


The Presario 5900Z. Winner for 
State of the Art Desktop PC. 


Compaq Innovations 

Compaq, Klipsch, and Lucas Arts have joined forces to bring 
you Klipsch v.2-400, the first and only professional PC sound 
system with THX. With 3-D sound and 400 watts of power, 
Klipsch speakers bring games, music, and the Internet to life. 



Compaq Financing 

From instant application processing to flexible payment 
options, the Compaq Consumer Financing Program 1 
makes it easy to get the latest Compaq technology. 

Call now to arrange a low monthly payment. 


Take advantage of Compaq values at any of these qualified retailers: ABC Warehouse, American Appliance, American TV, bigcityexpress.com, Brandsmart USA, 
Buy.com, CDW, Circuit City, CompUSA, Conn’s, Cozone.com, DataVision, Fred Meyer, Fry’s Electronics, h.h. Gregg, J&R Computer World, 
Micro Center, MicroWarehouse, Multiple Zones, Nationwide Computers & Electronics, Nebraska Mega Mart, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Onsale.com, 
Outpost.com, PC Connection, PC Mall, PC Richard & Son, PC Warehouse, RadioShack, RCS Computer Experience, Sears, Staples, The Wiz, 
Tiger Direct, Tops Appliance City, ValueAmerica.com, Worldspy.com Visit a Compaq Built For You Custom PC Center at select retailers highlighted in bold above. 


: AII prices shown are Compaq Direct selling prices and do not include applicable sales tax and shipping, are valid in the U.S. only, and are subject to change or cancellation without notice. Not all models available in retail stores. Illustrations may 
not accurately represent exact configurations priced. Compaq is not liable for editorial, pictorial, or typographical errors in this advertisement. 'This product is provided and administered by MBNA American Bank, N.A. Financing available on 
approved credit. Payment based on a 48-month term at 1 4.99% APR. Your APR may be higher. There is no fee for Compaq purchases billed directly to your account. However, there is an access check fee of 3% of the U.S. Dollar amount of 
each advance check ($5 min./$30 max). tt System tested using NSTL YMARK2000 hardware test. Non-compliant third-party software/hardware products may affect rollover results. For more details, see www.compaq.com/year2000. ‘Requires 
sharing subscriber profile information and viewing targeted ads. Other terms and conditions also apply. See NetZero User Agreement for details. 'For hard drives, GB=billion bytes. 2 32X Max CD-ROM data transfer rates may vary from 1 800 to 
4800 Kbps. 3 ITU V.90 modems are designed only to allow faster downloads from K56flex- or V.90-compliant digital sources. Maximum achievable download transmission rates are currently unknown, may not reach 56 Kbps, and will vary with 
line conditions. 'Works with most third-party devices. The 6.0Mb Max Digital Modem uses the ADSL/G.Lite protocol. ADSL/G.Lite updates may be downloaded from Compaq's website when available. The ADSL/G.Lite protocol is designed to 
allow faster downloads from ADSL/G.Lite-compliant digital sources. Availability of ADSL/G.Lite services will vary by region and Internet Service Provider (ISP), and may differ from V.90 ISP services. Maximum achievable download transmission 




We’re making everything 
about computers easier. 
Including buying one. 


The Compaq Presario 5900Z Series Internet PC with the powerful new AMD® Athlon™ Processor. 

Internet access at the touch of a button. USB and IEEE1394 ports located on the front of the PC for easy 
connection to digital camcorders and other peripherals. And the option of Home Phoneline Networking* 
for simultaneous Internet connections from every PC in your house. 

At Compaq, we’ve made our reputation by making computers easier and more fun to use. Now we’re even 
making them easier to buy — and we’re not just talking price. We’re talking choice. Get yours at your 
favorite retailer, call us directly, or visit our website. We even offer a number of financing options! 

Speaking of options, how about a faster processor? A bigger monitor? More memory? No problem. We make 
customizing your PC easy, too. In fact, there’s only one thing that’s difficult about buying one of these PCs. 
Choosing one. 


PRESARIO 5900Z-700 

PRESARIO 5900Z-750 

INTERNET PC 

INTERNET PC 

AMD Athlon 700 MHz Processor 

AMD Athlon 750 MHz Processor 

128 MB SyncDRAM 

128 MB SyncDRAM 

20.0 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive 1 

27.0 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive 1 

10X DVD-ROM Drive 6 

10X DVD-ROM Drive 6 

3Dfx Voodoo 3500 16 MB Graphics Card 

Creative Annihilator 32MB w/GeForce256 Graphics 

Sound Blaster Live! Value 

Sound Blaster Live! Value 

56K ITUV.90 Modem 3 

6.0Mb Max Digital Modem 5 

Klipsch v.2-400 Watt Speaker System 

JBL Pro Amplified Speakers 

Digital Creativity Imaging Center 4 

Digital Creativity Imaging Center 4 

8X CD-RW (Read/Writeable) Drive 7 

Microsoft Office 2000 SBE® 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection+MS Word 

Microsoft Windows98 

Microsoft Windows98 

Compaq CV915 19" Monitor (18.0" VIA) 

Compaq CV715 17" Monitor (16.0" VIA) 

As,owas 

As low as 


$22991 $64^ $2699 $76 e 


6.0Mb Max Digital Modem 5 : Add $99 

8X CD-RW (Read/Writeable) Drive': Add $199 

Creative Annihilator 32 MB Graphics: Add $147 

250 MB Iomega Zip Built-In" Drive + 1 disk: Add $149 

IJ750 Color Inkjet Printer: Add $149 

Microsoft Office 2000 Professional Upgrade: Add $199 


Free Internet Access 

From NetZero* 

These Compaq Presario Internet PCs give your 
family fast, easy Internet access. And now they give 
it to you free. You’ll get unlimited Internet service 
courtesy of NetZero* and Compaq. No fees. 

No gimmicks. No long-term commitments. 


1-888-286-8456 www.compaq.com 

Buy direct from Compaq, or purchase yours at your favorite retailer. 


m 


COMPAQ PRODUCTS ARE YEAR 2000 HARDWARE COMPLIANT." 


COMPAQ. 


rates with ADSL/G.Lite are currently unknown, may not reach 6.0Mbps, and will vary with line conditions and distance. 6 10X DVD-ROM drives read a minimum of 5,545 Kbps and a maximum of 13,525 Kbps. 7 CD-RW drive data transfer 
rates may vary as follows: for recording to CD-R media, the data transfer rate may vary from 150 to 600 Kbps; for writing to CD-RW media, the data transfer rate may vary from 150 to 300 Kbps; for reading to CD media, the data 
transfer rate may vary from 1500 to 3600 Kbps. An appropriate license may be required. 8 Home Phoneline Networking and Ethernet Port cannot be used simultaneously. Additional PC must have a network adapter, sold separately. 
A0L is a sing'e-user system and will not allow multiple users to access simultaneously under the same account. Other Internet Service Providers may have the same restrictions. One year parts and labor. Labor for Desktop systems 
is pickup service during the first 90 days of ownership. Labor for notebooks is pickup service. Compaq, the Compaq Logo, and Presario are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. AMD, AMD Athlon, and AMD-K6 are 
registered trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Intel, the Intel Inside Logo, and Pentium are registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. Microsoft 3 Windows®98 installed. Microsoft, MS, and Windows 
are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Iomega and Zip are registered trademarks and Zip Built-In is a trademark of Iomega Corporation. Product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered 
trademarks of other companies. Call Compaq Monday-Friday, 7:00am-1 1 :00pm (CT). Saturday and Sunday, 7:00am-7:00pm (C7). ©2000 Compaq Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. 


Compaq Home 





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® wasas 


,*'• ,;r',-:^ f Wv .'v^js.---. 1 ^ 
■' ■/A’ ’; ■■ ■:■ ’.'• ' • •r.it-lteaS 





invent 


True to the original. 

Crisp type. Bold color. 

Printouts that are most like your original photos. 

The new hp PhotoSmart PI 100. You get up to 10 ppm color, 
without sacrificing razor-sharp text and graphics. 

Invent, create and inspire for just $399* 

Achieve superior results with hp supplies, 
hp.com/go/original. 




10 Reasons To 

Dump Your Accounting Software 
and Switch to NetLedger” 


N 

Anywhere, 
Anytime. NetLedger 

a 

Instant Multiple 

Users. As many , 

9 


is accounting software 
delivered over the Internet. 
Log in and work wherever 
you are, 24/7. Pay bills, do 
invoices or taxes at home. 
Check orders from your 
hotel. Your accountant or 
employees can instantly 
access the numbers, with 
editing privileges if you 
grant them. 

Greater Data 
Security. Your data’s 
safer than it would be on 
your office PC. NetLedger 
uses passwords, 
multiple backups 
daily, offsite data 
storage, redun- 
dant servers and 
power systems, 
and more. And 
Oracle Business 
Online™ hosts 
NetLedger, the same service 
Oracle delivers its Fortune 500 
applications on. 

No More Upgrade 
Hassles. NetLedger 

is updated weekly. So each 
time you log on it’s at its 
best. Forget old-time soft- 
ware nightmares like file 
incompatibilities, time- 
consuming and costly 
upgrade ordering, and 
waiting days for support 
when you upgrade. 



users as you need use your 
financial data at once - 
each with specific privileges, 
and all without a network. 
Users can be anywhere in 
the world using any device 
that accesses the Internet. 

Audit Trail. Click 

"Audit" to see every 
change to every transaction, 
listed by user, including all 
deleted transactions. All 
without slowing you down! 

Oracle Database. 

NetLedger is built 
on Oracle, the database two 
thirds of the 
Fortune 500 
relies on for 
data safety, security, and 
speed. 

J Easy, Instant 
Conversion. 

NetLedger converts 
QuickBooks data with one 
mouse click. And if you ever 
want to go back to your 
old way, exporting data from 
NetLedger is easy, too. 

Just $4.95 a 

Month. After 
your 30-day FREE trial, the 
cost is just $4.95 per month 
per user - a big savings 
versus store-bought soft- 
ware. Sign up now and 
we’ll give you a FREE pass- 
word for your accountant. 



Larry Ellison 
Invested. Oracle 
CEO Larry Ellison invested 
millions of his own 
money in NetLedger. 

He’s just one of the 
savvy technology 
investors that have 
helped make 
NetLedger.com 
America’s largest, 
most successful 100% online 
accounting software firm. 

Try it FREE! 

You’re invited to try 
NetLedger.com FREE and 
without obligation for a 
month. It’s the only online 
accounting software that 
runs on any device that 
accesses the Internet 
without any downloaded 
software. It works better 
than the software you’re 
using now - for a fraction 
of the cost, and without 
the hassles. 



Go to www.netledger.com now to try NetLedger 
FREE and without obligation for a month! 











MICHAEL J. MILLER 


Forward Thinking 



DON’T JUST SURF; GET THI 

A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, THE 
Web was all about browsing — 
going to different sites, looking 
at the information, and then 
jumping to other sites. That’s 
why portals such as Excite, 
Netscape Netcenter, and Yahoo! 
grew so rapidly. We needed 
guidance on where to go first. Today, people still spend lots 
of time surfing and reading online, but those activities no 
longer drive Web usage as they once did. 

Instead, today’s focus is on what you can get done on the 
Web and with Internet computing in general. Today’s best 
Web sites let you research specific topics, shop and com- 
pare prices, store your calendar or your contacts, and ex- 
change information with others in your company or those 


NGS DONE! 



in other companies who are working on the same project. 
These sites provide communities for discussions of busi- 
ness and personal information. They often show you pages 
that are personalized with information tailored to you or 
your company. They may even host applications that you 
used to run on your PC. 

The change from a Web defined by its links to a Web de- 
fined by the services that sites provide is a massive change. 
Indeed, 74 sites on our current list of “The Top 100 Web 
Sites” (page 144) are appearing for the first time, as are many 
of the categories into which we put them. 

This change will force every organization to analyze 
how it views its own Web presence and force all of us to 
rethink our own lists of essential bookmarks. The good 
news: There are countless new services out there to 
choose from, and you’re sure to find some gems. 


PAY ATTENTION TO PRODUCTS BEHIND THE CURTAIN 


AS I TALK TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DEVELOPING THESE 
new Web sites and Web-based services, one theme I’m 
hearing is that making the right technology decisions up 
front is critical to their success. That may sound obvious, 
but it goes against the conventional wisdom that says the 
amount of processing power you have and the kind of soft- 
ware you use don’t matter as much 
in an Internet-centric world. I’ve 
heard too many people say that 
anything that does the job is good 
enough. They’re wrong. 

Producing wonderful Web sites 
like those on our Top 100 list re- 
quires great ideas, lots of sweat and hard work, and great 
hardware and software tools to make everything come to- 
gether. The best companies spend lots of time and energy 
making sure the tools they use to create their Web sites do 
the right jobs. Each piece of the technology puzzle can 
have a significant impact on the overall quality of a site and 
the quality of the experience it delivers to its visitors. 

To create a great Web site, you need a lot of different tech- 
nology components. You need design tools — from page de- 
sign software to photo editors to full design suites. The prod- 
ucts you choose will determine how quickly you can design 
the site, how good it looks, and what it can and can’t do. 

You need Web servers and probably application servers 
and database servers to get the right information to the 


right people. You may want load-balancing software and 
hardware, clustering solutions, and redundant servers or 
storage. You may need personalization software, invento- 
ry management software, or ERP software to keep things 
going. You probably need some way of tracking customers, 
data, and Web site performance. And you need hardware 
to run all of these applications, backup systems, and a lo- 
cation — or multiple locations — for the site. With the right 
choices for the kind of information you have, you can cre- 
ate a site that’s fast, pow- 
erful, and reliable. 

There’s a constant 
struggle among cost, 
time to market, and the 
quality of the Web expe- 
rience you are delivering. 
Choosing the right archi- 
tecture and products is 
crucial. Almost no company has all the skills it needs to 
make each part of the operation work as well as it should. 
Therefore, most companies don’t do everything in-house. 
Most outsource something — perhaps hosting or design— so 
they can concentrate on the areas where they can bring 
added value. 

Building a great Web site depends largely on under- 
standing what your unique needs are, what your internal 
skills are, and which mix of tools will work best for you. 



FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 7 


Forward Thinking 

MICHAEL J, MILLER 


PERFORMANCE STILL MATT 

BY THE WAY, THE “PERFORMANCE DOESN’T MATTER” 
argument doesn’t hold for individual PCs, either. Anyone 
who plays computer games, creates complex Web images, or 
works with graphics or video knows that. But that’s not all. 
In November, our new i-Bench tests proved that even down- 
loading a series of complex Web pages can be twice as fast 
on a new computer as on an older system. (We also found 
eye-opening differences between PCs and Macs.) CPU speed 
does make a difference. Of course, that’s not to say perfor- 
mance is the only thing that matters. For corporate users, 


ERS 

things like PC manageability and consistency among prod- 
uct lines are important (Compaq, Dell, HP, and IBM do those 
things right). For individual users, things like style, looks, and 
special features count. And everyone cares about reliability 
and support. But performance remains part of the equation. 

When will that stop? When software developers stop 
creating new applications. But for the foreseeable future, 
every time the hardware companies come up with prod- 
ucts that are faster, developers keep finding new things to 
do with that speed. And that’s the good news. 


PC MAGAZINE’S NEW LOOK 

AS YOU CAN PROBABLY TELL BY NOW, PC MAGAZINE HAS 
undergone something of a change. The issue you hold in 
your hand is rather different from previous issues in a lot 
of ways: organization, look, typography, even colors. 

We had several goals in creating our new design. One was 
to be more useful to our readers — making the most critical 
information in the magazine as accessible as possible. The 
First Looks section — one of the most popular sections of the 
magazine — now starts right after the table of contents. Our 
Solutions section, which offers help on improving your 
everyday computing experience, has taken a trip from the 
back of the magazine to a more prominent position — before 
our feature evaluations. That means our big features are a 
little farther back, but they run more continuously, with 
fewer ads breaking up the stories. Our Site Finder section, 
which has always included links to Web sites on a particu- 
lar subject, has expanded to include links to all the products 
mentioned in the magazine. We’re even printing it as a spe- 
cial tear-out guide, so you can keep it as a handy reference. 

Another goal of our redesign was to help connect the 
magazine with changes on the Internet. Every day our Web 
site ( www.pcmag.com ) features new First Looks, new trend 
and technology reports, and new downloads, as well as 
product reviews, opinions, and tips and tricks. You’ll also 



Performance 
Manageability 
Vendor Service & 
Reliability 
Web-site Support 


Not 

Important 

o o o 

o o © 

o o o 

o © o 


o © 
o o 
© o 
o o 


. ftp. Y9ijJ Scorecard 


Tell us what matters most to 
you and we’ll tell you which 
products best meet your needs. 


Your Custom Scorecard 

iRank Product 

Read Review 

Check Prices 1 

1 IBM ThinkPad 600X 9EU 

BsM Rftyievv 

Cheyk Prices j 

2 Compaq Armada M700 

Read Review 

Check Prices | 

O Toshiba Portege 71 40CT 

Read Review 

Check Prices 

L: Toshiba Tecra 8100 

Read Review 

Check Prices i 

3 Gateway Solo 9300XL 

BsM Review 

4 HP OmniBook 4150 

Read Review 

Check Prices 

5 Compaq Armada E700 

Read Review 

Cheskeocfia HI 

6 Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 

BeMBfiview 

Check Prices 

IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU 

Read Review 

Check Prices 

7 Del! Latitude CS R400XT 

BfeatHsviflw 

H 

8 WinBook XL3 500 

Read Review 

Check Prices 

9 NEC Versa LXi 

Read Reviow 

C. h ficK Pr>ce§ 

1 = Editors' Choice 


find conversations in our online Solutions section and 
User to User, as well as our unique PC Magazine utilities. 

Redesigning a Web site is easier than redesigning a print 
magazine, and as a result, our Web site is always improv- 
ing. It, too, will reflect the changes we’ve made. One major 
new feature you’ll find is a new way of customizing our PC 
Magazine Labs scorecards. Now, for any comparative re- 
view, you can rate the criteria that are most important to 
you on a five-point scale and get a list of products that best 


Art director Laura Baer with Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser. 

meet your needs, ranked according to those criteria. 

Design changes don’t come easily. Art director Laura Baer 
worked closely with two of the world’s best designers: 
Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser of WBMG. Along with 
their colleague Irene Vandervoort, they helped us with all 
the aspects of the design, including our modified logo and 
our wonderfully readable new typeface, Poynter, designed 
by Tobias Frere-Jones. 

But some things don’t change. We’re still committed to 
testing the computing and Internet products that you need 
to make your business work better and that 
help you make the most of your personal life as 
well. No matter what PC Magazine looks like, 
the testing — all of which takes place in PC Mag- 
azine Labs, the world’s largest magazine lab for 
testing technology products— remains at the 
core of what we are. 

Readers often react strongly to a redesign. 
Some will love it, some will hate it, and many 
will find that it takes some time to get used to. 
Magazines — successful ones, at least — take 
the decision to change very seriously. This is the first 
major redesign of PC Magazine since 1993, and it’s the 
culmination of nearly a year’s worth of reader surveys, 
focus groups, and design efforts. Drop us a line at 
pcmag@zd.com and let us know what you think. 


MORE ON THE WEB: Editor-in-chief Michael J. Miller wants to 
hear from you. Talk back, at PC Magazine Online, 

www.pcmag.com/opinions. 


8 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8. 2000 




Selling pre-owned technology assets 
is a fragmented $30 billion industry. 

Only one company can 
Consolidate it, 

Test it, 

Distribute it, 

Guarantee it. 


We are redefining the industry. 



The future of asset management. 


Introducing TechSmart.com, the first online click and mortar asset management company. With two state-of-the-art 
distribution and logistics facilities, in New York and Chicago, we test and re-test, ship and fully guarantee every 
piece of equipment that comes through our doors. Want to see where the future of asset management is going? 
E-mail Mike Browne at mbrowne@techsmart.com or call 1-800-621-6364 ext.205. ©isssneonsmart 



Wouldn’t it be great if every PC came 


The Systemax Corporate PCs - Featuring Intel® Pentium® III Processors. 


At Systemax we custom-build computers that help people build their business. Reliable, hard-working, affordable systems that earn 
their keep right out of the box. Designed specifically to run the software that your business runs on. Computers acknowledged to 
have one of the most impressive reliability rates in the industry. 

We've also built a company full of smart people who not only understand how computers work 
but also understand how business works. People capable of giv- 
ing you 24/7 customer support that is the closest thing to hav- 
ing our staff right on your staff. 

One phone call or visit to our website and we'll help 
you configure a system that perfectly fits your specific busi- 
ness needs. And, since every business needs the best PCs at 
the best price, you'll be pleased to discover that buying 
Systemax will save you money over competitive brands. The bottom line 
is that a computer is nothing more than a machine to make your bottom line bigger. If you haven't looked into Systemax comput- 
ers, make it your business to find out about us. 



itel 


\ 

pentium®/// 


m 


Built In Our ISO 9001 Certified Facility. Built To Your Needs. 

Every Systemax PC is built with the latest state-of-the-art components, from the power supply to the hard drive, 
memory, processor and chipset. Each system is assembled to zero-defect tolerance in the US in our ISO 9001 Cerified Facility. Our 
systems are engineered to easily handle ever/thing from CAD to 3D animation and to run your office applications at breathtaking 
speed. 

Fully Customizable. 

Configure or upgrade your system fast, simply and affordably over the phone or online. Built-in DVD, digital video, 3D animation, 
customized Internet technology, networking, removable storage. Whatever you want it's all here and all affordable. 


Business PC Series Complete with monitors! Features: MS Windows 98 (2 nd Edition), Intel 810 Chipset, Premium 104-Key Windows Keyboard, 2 USB Ports, 
3.5" Floppy Drive, 4-Bay Micro-Tower Case, Microsoft IntelliMouse™, 5/3 Year Limited Warranty and 7x24 Tech Support, 1st Year On-Site Service provided by 
BancTeci 


Business PC Series 

Business 400C 

I Business PC Series 

1 Business 466C 

I Corporate PC Series 

1 Corporate 500 

1 Corporate PC Series 

I Corporate 600 

Intel® Celeron™ Processor 400 MHz 

Intel® Celeron™ Processor 466 MHz 

Intel® Pentium® III Processor 500 MHz 

Intel® Pentium® III Processor 600 MHz 

32MB SDRAM 

64MB SDRAM 

64MB SDRAM 

64MB SDRAM 

8 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

10 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

8 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

15 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

Intel 3D Direct AGP Integrated Graphics 

Intel 3D Direct AGP Integrated Graphics 

Creative Labs 3D AGP Graphics Card (16MB) 

Creative Labs 3D AGP Graphics Card (16MB) 

15", .28 Dot Pitch Monitor (13.8" viewable) 

17", .25 Dot Pitch Monitor (16" viewable) 

15", .28 Dot Pitch Monitor (13.8" viewable) 

17", .25 Dot Pitch Monitor (16" viewable) 

PCI Wavetable Integrated Sound 

PCI Wavetable Integrated Sound 

48X (max) CD-ROM Drive 1 

48X (max) CD-ROM Drive 1 

44X (max) CD-ROM 1 

44X (max) CD-ROM Drive 1 

3Com Fast EtherLink XL PCI Adapter 

3Com Fast EtherLink XL PCI Adapter 

3Com® 56K V.90 Modem for Windows 2 

3Com 56K V.90 Modem for Windows 2 



Lease $24/Month 600 

Lease S 30/Month ^800 

$ 1D49 

Lease s 35/Mo. IWnTw 

Lease s 47/Mo. ^1399 

Item # PYMOc-2 

Item # PVW-466C-2 

Item # PVW-T500-2 

Item # PVW-T600-2 

■ Upgrade $829 Item # VWS-400c-2 

■ Upgrade $979 Item # VWS-466c-2 

■ Upgrade $1279 Item # PVO-T5QO-2 

| Upgrade $1599 Item # PVO-T600-2 | 

Upgrade the above to include: 64MB SDRAM 

Upgrade the above to include: 

Upgrade the above to include: 

Upgrade the above to include: 

10 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

20 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

15 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

lomegalOOMB Zip drive (IDE) 

Microsoft Works Suite 2000 

Microsoft Works Suite 2000 

17", .25 Dot Pitch Monitor (16" viewable) 

Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business 



Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business 



Intel and the Intel Inside logo and Pentium are registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of the Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries. Microsoft 5 , MS and Wndows are registered trade- 
marks of the Microsoft Corporation. All products are trademarks of their respective manufacturers. All registered and unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective companies. Prices do not include 
shipping or applicable sales tax. Copyright 1999, Systemax, Inc Prices and configurations are subject to change without notice. 



Midwest Micr o — 

888 - 878-8973 http://pm.tigerdirect.com 877 - 577-2989 http://pm.mwmicro.com 









with its own customer support person? 



Starting today, 
one does. 


Corporate PC Series Complete with monitors! Features: Ultra ATA 66 Integrated Controller, 104-key Windows 
Keyboard, 2 USB Ports, 3.5" Floppy Drive, ATX7 Bay Mid-Tower Case, Microsoft IntelliMouse™, MS Windows 98 (2 nd 
Edition), 5/3 Year Limited Warranty and 7x24 Tech Support, 1 st Year On-Site Service provided by BancTec®! 


Corporate PC Series 

Corporate 667 


Intel® Pentium® III Processor 667 MHz 
256K Advanced Transfer Cache 


Corporate PC Series 

Corporate 733 


Intel® Pentium® III Processor 733 MHz 
256K Advanced Transfer Cache 


Corporate PC Series 

Corporate 733 


Intel® Pentium® III Processor 733 MHz 
256K Advanced Transfer Cache 


64MB 133MHz SDRAM 
1 5 GB Ultra ATA 7200 RPM Hard Drive 
nVIDIA Vania’ 4X/2X AGP Graphics’ (16MB) 
17", .25 Dot Pitch Monitor (16* viewable) 
48X (max) CD-ROM Drive 1 
3Com Fast EtherLink XL PCI Adapter 


Lease s 54/Mo. 

Item # PVW-T667-2 


Upgrade $1949 Item # PV0-T667-2 


Upgrade the above to include: 

128MB 133MHz SDRAM 
Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business 
Iomega 250MB Zip Drive (IDE) 



128MB 133MHz SDRAM 
20 GB Ultra ATA 7200 RPM Hard Drive 
nVIDIA Vanta 4X/2X AGP Graphics (16MB) 
17", .25 Dot Pitch Monitor (16" viewable) 
48X (max) CD-ROM Drive 1 


3Com Fast EtherLink XL PCI Adapter 

Lease $ 66/Mo. 


ik xl m Aaapier 

*1949 


Item # PVW-T733-2 


Upgrade $2199 Item # PU0-T733-2 


Upgrade the above to include: 

Iomega 250MB Zip Drive (IDE) 

Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business 


'CD-ROM speeds are variable. Maximum speed shown. ^Maximum data transfer rate may vary due to 
the particular modem you are communicating with, telephone lines and communication protocols. 


128MB Rambus RDRAM 

27 GB Ultra ATA 7200 RPM Hard Drive 
TNT2 4X AGP Graphics Card (32MB) 

19", .25 Dot Pitch Monitor (18" viewable) 
48X (max) CD-ROM Drive 1 
Creative Labs Ensoniq Audio PCI 
Cambridge SoundWorks SBS-52 Speakers 
3Com Fast EtherLink XL PCI Adapter 
Microsoft Office 2000 Smail Business 


Lease $ 84/Mo. 


*2499 

Item # PV0-T733-2X 


mUMAL 


24/7 Sales and Customer 
Support. Built to build your 
business. 


Lifetime customer support takes 
on new meaning when it feels 
like the support group is in your 
office with you. Responsive peo- 
ple committed to first-call solu- 
tions. It's a level of 24/7 dedica- 
tion to your business that raises 
the bar for cus- 
tomer support in 
this industry. 

Systemax PCs are 
made by a Fortune 
1000 company with over forty 
years of world-class customer 
service. We stand behind every 
custom-built system with the 
industry's best protection plan. 
Every system is backed with a 
5/3-year limited warranty and 
on-site service. 


Financing/ 

Leasing 

Options 

Available 



Don't just buy a computer, 
buy o partners 


800 - 806-5993 http://pm.globalcomputer.com 


www.systemaxpc.com 






I WANT PCs 

I CAN COUNT ON 


BECAUSE I DON’T 
HAVE TIME TO BE 
TECH SUPPORT, TOO 


THE COVERAGE YOU NEED is always included 
with IBM technology - now available direct from 
IBM or through an IBM Business Partner. Choose 
a Netfinity® server and you get 90-day IBM Start 
Up Support, a three-year onsite limited warranty 
for labor, plus a three-year warranty that covers 
parts, IBM accessories and upgrades. 1 

If you need desktop systems, the IBM PC 300®GL 
includes a three-year warranty on parts, three- 
year technical support on hardware, one-year 
onsite warranty for labor, plus 30-day “getting 
started" support for preinstalled software. So relax, 
and rely on IBM. 

START RIGHT, KEEP GROWING STRONG. 

As your needs change, we’ll meet them. Upgrade 
to enhanced service and support options to fit your 
business and your budget, or choose education 
programs such as Tutorials.com to keep your staff 
up-to-date, too. 

FREE ADVICE AND INFORMATION. Talk to 
a small business advisor or go to the IBM small 
business center Web site to learn more about the 
IBM small business program - tools, 
e-business solutions, world-class service and 
support priced right for every small business. 



pentium 


lyn Contents. 1 

■I'.MUMliH FEBRUARY 8, 2000 VOL. 19 NO. 3 




'""" l 

77 Pipeline 

77 Enter the third dimension 
77 The gigahertz goal 
80 Web shopping by color 
88 E-legislation update 
88 Small biz heads to the Web 
93 Concept PCs get real 


32 First Looks 

32 Microportable Projectors 
40 Dreamweaver 3 Fireworks 3 Studio 
45 Call Catcher 
45 Internet Answer Machine 

49 Compaq Presario EZ2200 

50 Internet shopping assistants 

52 Andrea DA-400 Desktop Array Microphone 

52 Labtec ClearVoice Digital Microphone 

52 Now You’re Talking on the Web 

56 Sony VAIO XG9 

56 IBM Travelstar 10E 

58 SkyMap 2000/GPS 

58 TripMaker Deluxe 2000 

58 Zinnote 2000 

58 FastSite Release 3 

60 Canvas 7 

60 Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 4.0 

62 Apple AirPort 

63 Cobalt RaQji 


95 Solutions 

96 Mobile: Keyboard attachments make 
entering data in palmtops less of a chore. 

105 Internet: Internet Explorer’s Auto- 

Complete may save you keystrokes, but it 
isn’t appropriate for some Web forms. 

Ill Office: Enter foreign characters and 
symbols in Word the easy way. 

113 Desktop: Recover from system crashes 
with Windows’ Emergency Start-Up Disk. 

117 Hardware: Overclocking might be able to 
save an older PC from obsolescence. 


121 Utilities: FileTip displays relevant file 

information in ToolTips for a wide variety 
of file types. 


Opinions 

7 Michael J. Miller 
85 Jake Kirchner 
123 Bill Machrone 
129 lohn C. Dvorak 
131 John C. Dvorak’s Inside Track 
133 Jim Seymour 
135 Bill Howard 


On the Cover 

■ 12 Power-User Portables page 180 ■ 6 Web-Based Survey Products page 163 m 7 Cool-Looking MP3 Players page 220 

■ 4 Lightweight LCD Projectors page 32 m Macromedia’s New Web Tools page 40 

■ How to Master Your PDA page 96 


Design: WBMG Inc. 


PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 15 



IBM PC 300GL 

Easy to install, easy to maintain 
and easy on your budget 



Desktops 


IBM PC 300GL 

The powerful and affordable PC 
for business 

Intel® Celeron™ processor 433MHz 
64MB RAM 
10.1GB HDD 

IBM 15" monitor (13.7" viewable) 
Integrated AGP Graphics 
Microsoft Windows® 98 


* 918 * 

Success Lease 

for Small Business 00/MONTH f 

CUSTOMIZE YOURS: 

48X-20X Internal CD-ROM Drive 

$99* or SA/month 1 

3Com Ethernet 10/100 Etherlink XL Adapter 

$89* or $3/month t 


IBM PC 300GL, Small Business Series 

Leading business productivity tools 
and outstanding value 

Pentium III processor 450MHz 

64MB RAM 

13.5GB HDD 

48X-20X CD-ROM 

56 K 6 V.90 modem 

IBM 15“ monitor (13.7" viewable) 

Microsoft Windows 98 

Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business 

* 1 , 338 * 

SuccessLease $>io 

for Small Business ^O/MONTH 1 

CUSTOMIZE YOURS: 

10/100 EtherJet™ PCI Adapter 

$83* or $3/month t 

64MB SDRAM Memory 

$245* or $9/month t 


IBM PC 300GL 

The powerful and affordable PC 
for business 

Pentium III processor 500MHz 

64MB RAM 

13.5GB HDD 

40X-17X CD-ROM 

IBM 15" monitor (13.7" viewable) 

Microsoft Windows NT® 


* 1 , 508 * 

SuccessLease $e>| 

for Small Business O^r/MONTHP 

CUSTOMIZE YOURS: 

56K V90 Modem 

$89* or $3/month f 

10/100 EtherJet PCI Adapter 

$83* or $3/month t 



START HERE 

Buy direct, contact an IBM Business 
Partner or get answers to your questions 

1 888 IBM-5800, advantage codesb907 

www.ibm.com/smallbusiness14 


2 MHz denotes microprocessor internal clock speed; other factors may affect application performance. 3 GB means one billion bytes when referring to hard drive capacity. Accessible 
capacity may vary. 4 Variable read rate. Actual playback speed will vary and is often less than the maximum possible. ^Actual storage capacity will vary based upon many factors 
and may be less than the maximum possible. These modems are designed to be capable of receiving data up to 56Kbps from a compatible service provider, and transmitting 
data at up to 31 ,2Kbps. Public networks currently limit maximum download speeds to about 53Kbps. Actual speeds depend on many factors and are often less than the maxi- 
mum possible. All products ship with an operating system, excluding servers. SuccessLease and all product names are registered trademarks or trademarks of International 
Business Machines Corporation. Intel, the Intel Inside logo and Pentium are registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. Microsoft, Windows and 
Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. ©1999 IBM Corp. All 
rights reserved. 





WITH IBM SMALL BUSINESS TOOLS, YOU GET 
SERVICE AND SUPPORT YOU CAN RELY ON. 
ONLINE. ONSITE. ON THE PHONE. 


Tutorials.com 


EXPERT TRAINING 
VIA THE INTERNET 


IBM Netfinity 3000 



NETFINITY 3500 M10 

Muscular application 
performance 


Servers 


IBM Netfinity 3500 M10 


IBM Netfinity 5000 



Now it’s easy and convenient for your 
staff to get the training needed to stay 
ahead - right from the desktop. With 
Tutorials.com from IBM, you can 
choose from a wide range of interactive 
multimedia courses, including Web 
site design, network administration, 
launching a business on the Web, 
Microsoft® Office and more, delivered 
via the Internet/ 


The affordable server for 
small businesses 

Pentium® III processor 500MHz 2 

64MB RAM 

9.1GB 3 HDD 

5 available slots 

32X-14X 4 CD-ROM 

90-day IBM Start Up Support 

Three-year onsite limited warranty 


The price/performance leader for 
growing businesses 

Pentium III processor 500MHz 
128MB RAM 
9.1GB HDD 
5 available slots 
40X-17X CD-ROM 
Dual processor capable 
90-day IBM Start Up Support 
Three-year onsite limited warranty 


The affordable blend of power 
and manageability 

Pentium III processor 500MHz 
128MB RAM 
9.1GB HDD 

Onboard systems management 
Redundant power and fans 
Hot-swap HDD capability 
Dual processor capable 
90-day IBM Start Up Support 
Three-year onsite limited warranty 


$ 9.95 select one-month courses 

QC six months’ training 
in Microsoft Office 

Sign up now and receive “What 
is the Internet?” course, FREE. 


* 1 , 715 * 

SuccessLease™ 

for Small Business O^/MONTH* 


* 1 , 985 * 

SuccessLease 

for Small Business / 1 /MONTH 1 


CUSTOMIZE YOURS: 

9.1GB Wide Ultra ISCSI HDD 

$349* or $1 3/month f 


CUSTOMIZE YOURS: 

9.1GB Wide Ultra ISCSI HDD 

$349* or $1 3/month + 


10/20GB NS SCSI Internal Tape Drive 5 128MB ECC SDRAM Memory 

$499* or $1 8/month t $469* or $1 T/month* 


* 2 , 554 * 

SuccessLease 

for Small Business 9^/MONTH f 


CUSTOMIZE YOURS: 

9.1GB Hot-swap HDD 

$465* or $17/month f 

ServeRAID™ 32L Ultra2 SCSI Adapter 

$785* or $28/month f 


Mention advantage code sb907 to confirm our latest pricing 


’For terms and conditions or copies of IBM’s Statement of Limited Warranty, call 1 800 772-2227 in the US and in Canada call 1 800 426-2255. International Warranty Service included in those countries where 
this product is offered. Telephone support may be subject to additional charges. ‘Prices shown are prices available from IBM directly; reseller prices may vary for Netfinity Model #8476-51 U, Hard Drive Part 
#20L0553, Tape Drive Part #01K1319; Netfinity Model #8655-1 2Y, Hard Drive Part #20L0553, Memory Part #01K1131; Netfinity Model #8659-41 Y, 9.1 6B Hard Drive Part #01K8053, Adapter Part #01 K7364. 
PC 300 Model #6288-50U, Monitor Model #65460AN, CD-ROM Drive Part #33L5001, Adapter Part #34L0401; PC 300 Model #6564-S3U, Monitor Model #65460AN, Adapter Part #34L1201, Memory Part 
#33L3079; PC 300 Model #6563-45U, Monitor Model #65460AN, Modem Part #33L4618, Adapter Part #34L1201. IBM price does not include tax or shipping and is subject to change without notice. 'SuccessLease 
is offered and administered in the US and Canada by Fidelity Leasing Inc., an approved provider of business financing for IBM Global Financing. All terms are provided by Fidelity Leasing Inc.; amount of monthly 
lease payments based on 36-month term, full payout lease, to qualified business customers, installing in the US. A documentation fee and first month’s payment due at lease signing. Any taxes are additional. Other 
terms and financing structures are available. Offer may be withdrawn or changed without notice. Options must be leased with system unit. 'Courses and prices may vary. Offer expires 2/29/00. 






Contents. 2 

FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



PRODUCTS REVIEWED IN THIS ISSUE 


COVER STORY 


144 The Top 100 
Web Sites 

On this year’s list you’ll find not just 
winning destinations but Web service 
sites that can enhance your business and your 
life. The best part: Most are free. Also, we take 
you on behind-the-scenes technology tours of 
five popular sites to show you how they get 
the job done — and what you can learn from 
their success. 


FIRST LOOKS 

32 Epson PowerLite 710c 
32 NEC MultiSync LT140 
32 Sony VPL-CSi SuperLite 
32 ViewSonic PJL1005 LiteBird 
50 ClickTheButton 
50 DealPilot 
50 R U Sure 

WEB SURVEY SOFTWARE 

165 EZSurvey 99 for the Internet 

166 MarketSight 2.5 

173 Survey Select 2.1 

174 SurveySolutions for the Web 2.0 

175 WebSurveyor 2.0 

176 Zoomerang 

POWER PORTABLES 

183 Compaq Armada E700 

183 Compaq Armada M700 

184 Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 
184 Dell Latitude CS R400XT 
189 Gateway Solo 9300XL 

189 HP OmniBook 4150 

191 IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU 

191 IBM ThinkPad 600X 9EU 

196 NEC Versa LXi 

198 Toshiba Portege 7140CT 

198 Toshiba Tecra 8100 

198 WinBook XL 3 500 


SOFTWARE 

163 Web Survey 
Software 

0 There’s nothing like a survey to get you 
inside your customers’ heads. And 
putting a questionnaire online can save you 
time and money. We look at six Web survey 
products that do the work for you. 


PCs 

180 Power Portables 


MP3 TO GO 

220 Audiovox MPDj MP-1000 

220 Diamond Rio 500 

221 HanGo Personal Jukebox 
221 I-Jam 

221 The Home Gene-Splicing Kit 
221 Dramatica Pro 4.0 

221 Asheron’s Call 

222 Pine D’music SM-320V 
222 RCA/Thomson Lyra 

222 Sensory Science raveMP 2100 


ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 
71 Feedback 
139 Sitefinder 

Sites and strategies to help you build — and 
hang onto — a world-class workforce. 

236 Backspace 


0 Combine Pentium III power with 
great manageability and you get the 
kind of notebook you want your key em- 
ployees to carry. PC Labs tests 12 Windows 
NT portables aimed at the corporate 
environment. 


AFTER HOURS 

220 MP3 to Go 


Now, you can take it with you. PC 




reviews seven portable MP3 players. 




brents Guide to 





500% less reflection* 

minimizes distractions 
for improved efficiency 


Over 85% less glare* 

for less eyestrain, 
less fatigue 


Over 300% better 
brightness uniformity* 

for consistent, true-to- 
life images 

Nearly 3 times greater 
image sharpness* 

delivers improved clarity, 
precision and accuracy 


Over 300% higher 
contrast ratio* 

enhances legibility 
and fine detail 

Enhanced edge-to-edge clarity* 

accurately represents detail across 
entire display 


The new MultiSync® FE Series flat-screen CRT monitors. 

A brilliant solution to a glaring problem. 


Discover the flat-screen difference. 


Now you can eliminate a very real problem — the screen glare and reflection that add up to eyestrain, fatigue and reduced 
efficiency. Day in. And day out. | Because now the totally-flat screens of the affordable new MultiSync FE Series CRT monitors 
deliver what no traditional curved-screen monitor can give you. Like 500% less reflection. And over 85% less glare from ambient 


light. What's more, that hard-to-read text suddenly becomes noticeably crisper from edge to edge. | The advantages are clear. 


With less glare, higher contrast and virtually no curved-screen distortion, your monitor images will be decidedly sharper. And the 




NECTechnologies 


same can be said for the people who use them. To find out more about our flat-screen advantage, visit us at http://flat.nectech.com 
or call (800) NEC-INF0. 


Starting as low as $' 


NEC Technologies MultiSync FE Series. Flat screens for everyone. 

http://flat.nectech.com 


MultiSync 
m ^kes it Better 


MultiSync 


MultiSync 


FE1250™ 


MultiSync 


MultiSync 


MultiSync 


FE950™ 


FE750™ 


FE700M™ 


FE700™ 


* Based on tests conducted on the MultiSync FE Series and traditional curved-screen CRTs from other manufacturers 
t Estimated street price for the MultiSync FE700 

MultiSync is a registered trademark. FE Series and the NEC Technologies icon are trademarks of NEC Technologies. ©2000 NEC Technologies. Inc. 



IBM, Gateway, HP, 
and Apple buy our 
memory direct. 

^ The power behind the performance. 

Buy your memory direct from one of the 
largest memory manufacturers in the world. 

Performance, reliability, selection and 
factory direct savings — Crucial Technology, 
a Division of Micron. 


“I really like your fast, personal service, and have found 
your memory very reliable. / have told others in GTE about 
your company ... If s a pleasure to do business with you. ” 

Richard Tanis, GTE Wireless 

'1999 Micron Semiconductor Products, Inc. All rights reserved. Crucial Technology is a trademark of Micron Technology Inc., and Micron Is a registered trademark of Micron 
Technology, Inc. Crucial Technology is not responsible for omissions or errors In typography or photography. All other brands and names used herein are the property of their respective 
owners. Crucial Technology, a Division of Micron Semiconductor Products, Inc. Phone 208-363-5500. Fax 208-363-5501. E-mail cruclal.sales@mlcton.com. 


Online discounts for over 30,000 upgrades at: 

www.crucial.com 


Compare the Savings . . . 


64MB Upgrades 



Compaq 

Kingston 

Crucial 


Presario 5304 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Presario 5070 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Presario 5360 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Micron Electronics 

Kingston 

Crucial 


Millennia 400 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Millennia 450 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Millennia MAX 450 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Gateway 

Kingston 

Crucial 


G6-450 

$286.00 

$94.49 


G6-400 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Performance 450 

$286.00 

$94.49 


IBM 

Kingston 

Crucial 


Aptiva (2153) Model E2U 

$186.00 

$94.49 


Aptiva (2139) Model E5D 

$186.00 

$94.49 


HP 

Kingston 

Crucial 


Pavilion 4530 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Pavilion 4535 

Kayak XU PC Workstation 

$286.00 

$94.49 


440BX Chipset 

$207.00 

$106.19 


Vectra VL Series 8 

$186.00 

$94.49 


Apple 

Kingston 

Crucial 


Power Mac G3 PCI 00 

$186.00 

$94.49 


Power Mac G4 

$286.00 

$94.49 


Crucial prices reflect an automatic 10% discount for 
ordering online. Prices were taken from Crucial and Kingston 
Web sites on 12/14/99, however, they can (and do) change daily. 
Prices may vary according to specific system requirement. 

■ 



or call toll free 1-888-363-2579 






The memory experts. 


crucial 

TECHNOLOGY 

A Division of Micron® 






&.\a\ 


Individual 
'ink tanks 


Speed 

Takes printing to a 
new level. Up to 8 ppm in 
black, 5 ppm in color. 



Quality 

Rich, laser-quality black 
printing, plus 1440 x 720* dpi color 
printing for lifelike images. 


+ 


*With optional Canon Specialty Paper. “Estimated street price after $50 mail-in rebate. Rebate offer good through 1/29/00. Dealer prices may vary. Output shown using optional Photo Ink, sold separately. 



Prints great. Prints fast. 

With money-saving individual ink tanks, 
this could very well be the perfect printer. 


INDIVIDUAL INK TANKS. The Canon BJC-6000 Color Bubble Jet™ printer is perfect in 


every way. This smart printer has the Canon Think Tank System? 1 featuring individual ink tanks 


that allow you to replace only the color you need when it runs out. And with an optical sensor 


that warns you when a color is low, you'll never run out of ink in the middle of a job again. 


BRILLIANT RESOLUTION. Need extraordinary printing? Well, expect nothing less than 


perfect 1440 x 720 dpi* output thanks to our unique Drop Modulation Technology.™ 


PHENOMENAL SPEED. With a perfect balance of form and function, the BJC-6000 prints at 


a blazing 8 ppm in crisp, laser-quality black. Or 5 ppm in beautiful color. For more information, visit 


our Web site at www.ccsixanon.CQm/6000 or call 1-800-0 K-C ANON. 


Canon 



Ink 

Large, individual ink tanks save you 
money, and the optical ink sensor indicates 
when a color is running low. 



Value 

All this for only $ 149** 
including our exclusive Canon 
Creative Pro Software. 



©1999 Canon Computer Systems, Inc. Canon and BJC are registered trademarks and 3ubble Jet, Drop Modulation Technology and Canon Think Tank System are trademarks of Canon Inc. In Canada, call 1-800-263-1 121. 


Where can I find 
free software online? 




MAGAZINE 


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Michael J. Miller 


EDITOR Jake Kirchner 
SENIOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR Bill Howard 
EXECUTIVE EDITORS Leon Erlanger, Ben Z. Gottesman, 

Carol Venezia, Joan Warner, Don Willmott 
DIRECTOR, PC LABS Steve Buehler 
ART DIRECTOR Laura Baer 
SENIOR NETWORKING EDITOR Frank J. Derfler, Jr. 

SENIOR EDITORS John Morris (First Looks), Sebastian Rupley (West Coast) 

MANAGING EDITOR Paul B. Ross 

SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITORS Jamie M. Bsales (PCs and Devices), Carol Levin (Trends), Sharon Terdeman (Solutions) 
ASSOCIATE EDITORS Sean Carroll (Internet Services), Matthew Graven (Software), Davis D. Janowski (Internet 
Infrastructure), Carol A. Mangis (After Hours), Tom Ponzo (First Looks Online), Jennifer Triverio (Hardware) 
ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR Patricia Perkowski ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR Monica Sirignano 
COPY CHIEF Glen Boisseau Becker STAFF EDITORS Mary E. Behr, Jennifer M. DeFeo, Matthew Elliott, Angela Graven, 
Jeremy A. Kaplan, Michael W. Muchmore, Kim Schulman SENIOR WRITER Cade Metz STAFF WRITER Sharon Nash 
SENIOR COPY EDITOR Joseph N. Levine COPY EDITORS Barbara McGeoch, Ann Ovodow, Sarah Pike, Michael J. Steinhart 
ASSISTANT COPY EDITOR Debora Lidov PRODUCTION MANAGER Nicholas Cosmo SENIOR PRODUCTION EDITOR Michal Dluginski 
PRODUCTION EDITOR Nancy Goodman-Slayback LIBRARIAN Nancy Sirapyan LIBRARY ASSISTANT Dolores Williams 
EDITORIAL RESEARCHERS Richard Brown, Daniel S. Evans, Kevin Lam, Lisa A. Ronis 
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22 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8. 2000 


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You re used to 
people lining up 
outside your door. 

Just not to 
say thank you. 



Introducing the Sprint PCS Wireless Web. 

Who wouldn't appreciate an easier way to get online? With the Sprint PCS Wireless Web 
Connection, employees can now use their laptop PC and any wireless Internet-ready Sprint PCS 
Phone to connect to the company's network. Wireless is no longer just about voice. Now 
people can send and receive e-mails, retrieve files, get real-time information off the Internet 
and more, all without having to find a phone jack. Of course, calls are still crystal clear, thanks 
to the only all-digital, all-PCS nationwide network, serving more than 280 major metropolitan 
areas, including major airports. So don't be surprised if everyone gets in line to thank you. 


The Sprint PCS Clear Wireless Workplace™ 888-559-6947 or www.sprintpcs.com/clear 



The clear alternative to cellular. 3 ' 


Sprint PCS® 


Sprint PCS Wireless Web Connection and browser applications require a wireless Internet-ready phone. Connection application requires the purchase of a Sprint PCS Wireless Web Connection 
Kit. (See kit for computing devices supported.) This service is not available while roaming off the Sprint PCS Network. Subject to credit approval. Sprint PCS Wireless Web SM option is only 
available with service plans of $29.99 or more. Not available to Prepaid customers. Overage rates vary by plan or option. A rate of $0.39 per minute applies to all Wireless Web usage without a 
plan or option. See the Clear and Simple Facts Guide for conditions on voice-only plans. Customers with Account Spending Limits or Sprint PCS Add-a-Phone SM are eligible only for the $9.99 option. A 
complete statement of the terms and restrictions for Sprint PCS Wireless Web services are available in the Wireless Web brochure. ©1999 Sprint Spectrum L.P. All rights reserved. Sprint, Sprint PCS 
and the diamond logo are registered trademarks of Sprint Communications Company L.P., used under license. Sprint PCS Phone is a trademark of Sprint Communications Company L.P. 


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The new 2000 Mercury Sable has foot pedals that move 
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■ HP® OpenView ,M NNM Special Edition 

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CT I A A O Business Lease’ 5 : $55/Mo.,36 Mos. 

IUt7 E-VALUE CODE: 04243-290116 

■ Small Business Upgrade Bundle, add $1897 
Bundle Includes: Microsoft® BackOffice Small 
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System Support 


(T C /L r n Business Lease' : $190/Mo.,36 Mos. 

X ' E-VALUE CODE: 04243-290156 

■ Microsoft® Windows NT ! Server 4.0, add $799 


QT A O A Q Business Lease’ 5 : $230/Mo., 36 Mos. 

7 > = E-VALUE CODE: 04243-290168 

a Microsoft® Windows NT® Server 4.0, add $799 


USE THE POWER OF THE E-VALUE* CODE 

Match our latest technology with our latest prices 
Enter the e-vaiue code online or give it to your sale 
rep over the phone, www.dell.co m/e v a l u 


Phone Hours: M-F 7a-9p ■ Sat 10a-6p ■ Sun 12p-5p CT ■ In Canada', call 800-233-0702 ■ In Mexico 1 , call 01-800-021-4531 ■ GSA Contract #GS-35F-4076D 

Prices not discountable. 'Prices and specifications valid in U.S. only and subject to change without notice. Tor a complete copy of Guarantees or Limited Warranties, 
write Dell USA L.P., Attn: Warranties, One Dell Way, Round Rock, TX 78682. ’On-site service may be provided by a third-party provider under contract with Dell, and is not 
available in certain areas. Technician will be dispatched if necessary following phone-based troubleshooting. 5 17X Min. ’■Business leasing arranged by Dell Financial 
Services L.P., an independent entity, to qualified customers. Above lease payments based on a 36-month lease, and do not include taxes, fees, shipping charges; subject 
to credit approval and availability. Above lease terms subject to change without notice. Intel, the Intel Inside logo and Pentium are registered trademarks; Pentium III Xeon 
and Celeron are trademarks of Intel Corporation. MS, Microsoft, BackOffice, IntelliMouse, Windows NT and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft 
Corporation. 3Com is a registered trademark and Fast EtherLink is a trademark of 3Com Corporation. HP and DeskJet are registered trademarks and OpenView is a 
trademark of Hewlett Packard Corporation. Trinitron is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation. ©1999 Dell Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. 


pentium®/// 



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Lease options available. Returns may be subject to restocking fee. RMA # must be acquired. Some devices have not been approved by the Federal Communications Commission. 
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FEBRUARY 8. 2000 PC MAGAZINE 31 



FIRST 

HANDS-ON TESTING OF NEW PRODUCTS 


40 Dreamweaver 3 
Fireworks 3 Studio 
45 Internet answering machines 

49 Compaq Presario EZ2200 

50 ClickTheButton.com 


50 DealPilot 
50 RUSure 

52 Now You’re Talking on the Web 
52 Andrea DA-400 Desktop 
Array Microphone 



52 Labtec ClearVoice 
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56 Sony VAIO XG9 
56 IBM Travelstar lOEi 


Light and Bright Projectors BY ALFRED POOR 




Assisted by its microlens technology, the Epson 
PowerLite 710c came close to its ambitious 1,000 
lumens rating, making it the brightest in its class. 


Aside from video glitches, the NEC MultiSync LT140 
offers the best mix of performance and features, 
including a slot for a PC Card. 


worlds largest When it comes to presentations, a 

COMPUTER TESTING 

picture is worth at least a thousand 
words. And projector manufacturers 
are making the task of taking your 
picture show on the road easier than 
ever with a new crop of color projec- 
tors that weigh 6 pounds or less. 

The race started by Compaq, Lightware (First 
Looks, September 21, 1999), and InFocus (First Looks, 
December 14) has been joined by four more compa- 
nies: Epson, NEC, Sony, and ViewSonic. Even more are 
poised to join the pack; Sharp has announced the 
Notevisiony but was unable to provide an evaluation 
unit in time for testing. For this miniroundup, we 
looked at the Epson PowerLite 710c, the NEC Multi- 
Sync LT140, the Sony VPL-CSi SuperLite, and the 
ViewSonic PJL1005 LiteBird. 

Last year, projectors in this class accounted for just 
6 percent of the total market, or about 23,000 units. But 
5-pound-and-under projectors are predicted to grow 
at a rate of 74 percent a year and should account for 
more than half of all projectors sold within five years, 
according to market research firm Stanford Resources. 

Of course, there’s more to a projector than weight. 
For most users, the next most important feature is 
brightness. Manufacturers specify an ANSI lumen rat- 
ing that describes the amount of light a device can pro- 
duce. For normal conference room lighting situations 


32 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 





and an image size up to 4 or 5 
feet across, 600 or 700 lumens 
should be sufficient. 

It is important to note that the 
perception of brightness is loga- 
rithmic; for an image to appear 
twice as bright, it must have ten 
times as much light. In general, 
one image must be about a third 
brighter than another for any dif- 
ference to be clearly perceived. 
As a result, the difference be- 
tween 600- and 750-lumen pro- 
jectors is negligible, whereas 
the difference between 600 and 
1,000 lumens should be quite no- 
ticeable. Our tests results came 
in a range of 434 to 909 lumens 
among these four projectors. 

You may want to consider 
other important features. De- 
spite advances, image scaling 
still produces visible artifacts, 
especially when showing a high- 
er-resolution image on a lower- 
resolution device. For best 
results, match the native resolu- 
tion of your projector to the 
image source. Three of the four 
units have XGA resolution (1,024 
by 768); the Sony projector has 
only SVGA (800 by 600). 

The type of imaging engine is 
also a factor. Two of the projec- 
tors (the Epson and the Sony 
units) rely on sets of three poly- 
silicon LCD panels. If the three 
images are not aligned precisely, 
you will notice convergence er- 
rors on the screen. 

The other two projectors (the 
NEC and ViewSonic units) use 
single-digital light process (DLP) 
micromirror chips, with a rotat- 
ing color filter wheel that illumi- 

■1— 1 mu 1 iwii 1 1 nriM 

• •••• - EXCELLENT 
•••• - VERY GOOD 
••• - AVERAGE 
•• - FAIR 
• - POOR 


nates the reflective chip in a se- 
quence of red, green, and blue 
lights. This design can be noisier, 
because of the added mechanical 
parts of the color wheel. 

All the projectors reviewed 
here have a way to focus the 
image, but only three of the four 
also have a zoom function (the 
ViewSonic unit has a fixed 
zoom). A zoom feature conve- 
niently lets you place the projec- 
tor on a table or some other sur- 
face and then adjust the image 
size to fill the screen. 

One feature offered by some of 
the projectors is of limited value. 
Digital keystone correction is de- 
signed to straighten the sides of 
the image if the projector is 
aimed slightly up or down at the 
screen. Unfortunately, these pro- 
duce noticeable artifacts — espe- 
cially “roping” in thin vertical 
lines— and most users may pre- 
fer the angled yet unaltered 
image without this correction. 

All four projectors use 120- 
watt ultrahigh efficiency and 
performance (UHE/UHP) lamps 
that use small arc lengths to pro- 
vide smaller light sources, which 


60 Adobe PhotoDeluxe 
Home Edition 4.0 
60 Canvas 7 
62 Apple AirPort 
62 Cobalt RaQ 3i 

in turn require smaller reflec- 
tors. This reduces overall size 
and makes light path manage- 
ment more efficient. One impor- 
tant difference in lamps is that 
the NEC is rated for just 1,000 
hours of use, whereas the others 
are rated for 2,000 hours. With 
replacement lamps costing hun- 
dreds of dollars, this difference 
can have a significant effect on 
the cost of operation over time. 

And speaking of cost, the four 
projectors in this roundup rep- 
resent a wide range of prices: 
The NEC model is more than 
twice as expensive as the Sony 
unit. Depending on the features 
you need and the brightness and 
image quality that you’d accept, 
you may find your best buy at 
the top or bottom of this range. 

Epson Powerlite 710c 

Weighing 5.8 pounds, the Epson 
PowerLite 710c ($6,000 street) 
has a brighter image than most 
projectors twice its weight 
could offer just a few years ago. 
One reason that Epson can 
wring out more light from this 
three-panel 0.9-inch (diagonal) 


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polysilicon LCD design is that 
the unit relies on a microlens 
array behind each panel. These 
tiny lenses steer the light from 
the lamp away from each cell’s 
opaque transistor, so more light 
passes through the panel and 
continues to the screen. 

The design apparently works, 
as the PowerLite was clearly the 
brightest of the bunch. Our tests 
measured it at 909 lumens — 
close to the manufacturer’s rat- 
ing of 1,000 lumens. The con- 
trast, at 146:1, was also very good, 
and the brightness variance 
measure was a smooth 1.25. 

The PowerLite has a number 
of attractive features. Two ad- 
justable front feet make posi- 
tioning the image easy, and the 
unit has a tethered lens cap, 
which makes it hard to misplace. 
The full-function remote in- 
cludes easy-to-use mouse func- 
tions and lighted buttons. The 
remote also has a power switch, 
so the batteries won’t run down 
if a button is pressed in transit, 
and a hatch that reveals all the 
buttons you need to fine-tune 
the projector’s settings. 


Microlens 
Technology: 
See the Light 

Active-matrix LCD panels have 
a tiny transistor in each cell 
that turns the cell on and off. 
The opaque transistors prevent 
a portion of the light from 
passing through the cells, thus 
reducing efficiency and image 
brightness. Microlens 
technology uses a tiny lens 
behind each cell to gather the 
light and steer it through the 
cell opening, avoiding the 
transistor. The result is a 
brighter image. 


STANDARD LCD 
ARRAY 



Light waves 


Light is blocked by the 

active-matrix transistors, 
resulting in a loss of 
brightness. 


MICROLENS ARRAY 


The microlens array is 

like a series of bubbles, 
with one over each ^ 
LCD cell. m 


N. 


Light is bent to pass 
through the center of 
the cell, so it is not 
blocked by the 
transistors. 


FEBRUARY 8. 2000 PC MAGAZINE 33 



FIRST LOOKS 



The distinctive 
cover on the 
Sony VPL-CS1 
SuperLite 
doubles as the 
front legs when 
the unit is in 


A simple custom logo feature 
lets you capture any image on 
the screen and use it as the 
splash screen. Another innova- 
tion, a picture-in-picture feature, 
lets you monitor a video input 
while working with the comput- 
er signal on the full screen. 

The images had some good 
qualities. The colors were clear, 
pixel jitter was almost nonexis- 
tent, images were free of ghost- 
ing or streaking, and focus was 
uniform across the screen. 

We found some other signifi- 
cant flaws, however. The most 
serious was a noticeable conver- 
gence problem. The image from 
the red panel was offset by at 
least half a pixel’s width on the 
right half of the screen, which di- 
minished the image’s sharpness. 
We also observed problems with 
color tracking: Shades of gray 
should all have the same tone, 
but dark shades were noticeably 
purple, and the midrange shades 
had a distinct green tint. 

Video images with the 
PowerLite were the best in the 
bunch, with only a slight poster- 
ization on facial tones and no 
other obvious artifacts or de- 
fects. The sound system has a 
limited volume but should still 
be sufficient for a typical confer- 
ence room, and the sound did 
not distort at maximum levels. 

The Epson PowerLite 710c lit- 


erally outshines the competition, 
and the unit has an edge in video 
display. But the convergence and 
color-tracking flaws may detract 
from data displays — especially 
when running Windows applica- 
tions on-screen, where fine de- 
tails are important. 

Epson PowerLite 710c 

Street price: $6,000. Epson America 
Inc., Long Beach, CA; 800-463-7766; 
www.epson.com. • • • • 

HEC MultiSync LT140 

The NEC MultiSync LT140 
($6,400 street) is based on a DPL 
projector design from Plus Tech- 
nologies with electronics built to 
NEC’s specifications, which ex- 
plains why you will see other 
projectors (such as the Sharp 
Notevisiony) with nearly identi- 
cal housings. The LT140 carries a 
hefty price tag, but you’ll find a 
lot of features for the money. 

The projector comes with a 
credit-card-size remote control 
powered by a thin watch battery. 
The remote may look as if it’s 
designed to be easily lost, but 
the device slides neatly into a 
slot in the projector where you 
can safely keep it close at hand. 

Another slot in the projector 
accepts a PC Card. The projector 
includes software that lets you 
download a presentation to a PC 
Card, which you then can put in 


the projector to display your im- 
ages without needing a PC. Spe- 
cial software lets you download 
any JPEG or BMP file across a ser- 
ial connection to use as a splash 
screen on the projector. 

The projector is rated at 800 
ANSI lumens, and our tests re- 
sults were close to that at 735 lu- 
mens. As is typical with DLP pro- 
jectors, the contrast ratio was a 
stunning 231:1, and the image was 
uniform with a score of 1.24. 

We found no noticeable pixel 
defects, another advantage of 
DPL technology. The projector 
had very little light leakage from 
the case and was relatively quiet 
when in use. 

Image quality was generally 
good. Focus was sharp across 
the entire screen, and the image 
was rock steady, with no pixel 
jitter on even the most demand- 
ing test patterns. 

Since the image engine uses 
only a single panel, convergence 
was perfect. There was some 
slight ghosting on high-contrast 
patterns, and dark gray shades 
had a slight olive tint, though not 
enough to be objectionable. As 
is sometimes the case with DLP 
projectors, yellow shades tend- 
ed to be a bit brown, and red 
shades tended toward orange. 

The most serious image flaws 
occurred during video playback. 
We noticed pronounced cross- 
hatch artifacts on the borders be- 
tween contrasting color areas, 
which may have been the result 
of problems with decoding the 
composite video signal. We also 
saw noticeable artifacts in fast- 


moving images and some poster- 
ization in continuous-tone im- 
ages, such as close-ups of faces. 

The sound system has limited 
range but should be capable of 
filling an average meeting room. 
It did not distort at top volume. 

The NEC MultiSync LT140 is 
not as bright as the Epson unit, 
but it is still bright enough for 
the most typical settings, and its 
image quality is better suited for 
data applications, especially 
where fine details are involved. 
If your budget can handle the 
price, it is the best bet for com- 
puter presentations. 

NEC MultiSync LT140 

Street price: $6,400. NEC Technolo- 
gies Inc., Itasca, IL; 877-632-3348; 
www.go.nectech.com. • • • • 

Sony VPL-CS1 SuperLite 

With a street price of just $2,700, 
you would not expect the Sony 
VPL-CSi SuperLite to compete on 
the same level as the other three 
projectors in this group. Its only 
common feature is its light 
weight (although slightly over 
the 6-pound limit at 6.4 pounds), 
and the system has its own 
strengths and weaknesses. 

The unit’s native resolution is 
only SVGA (800 by 600); the 
other three projectors in this 
roundup have XGA (1,024 by 
768). The SuperLite uses three 
0.7-inch polysilicon LCD panels 
to create the image. And the pro- 
jector is rated at just 600 ANSI 
lumens, significantly lower than 
the 8oo-to-i,ooo rating range of 
the other three. 




NEC MultiSync LT140 

Microportable projectors fall into two categories: 
the higher-priced XGA-resolution units and the 
budget-minded SVGA models. In the former cate- 
gory, the NEC MultiSync LT140 ($6,400 street) is our top choice 
not only among the projectors reviewed here but also when 
compared with the Compaq MP1600 and the InFocus LP330. 

Although it was not as bright as the Epson PowerLite 710c, 
the NEC MultiSync LT140 projector nevertheless delivers great 
performance, including an excellent contrast ratio and a uni- 
formly bright image. Even better, NEC offers innovative features 
such as a PC Card slot for giving presentations without a PC. 

An honorable mention goes to the Sony VPL-CSI SuperLite, 
which is really competing against the only other low-priced, 
SVGA projector in this weight class, the Lightware Scout. 
Although the SuperLite is about a pound heavier than the 
Scout, it offers better performance and more features at a 
similar price, making it the best choice in this class. 


34 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 




Cream and sugar 
with your notebook? 


Recently our Versa® LX computer 
was named “Best Overall” in PC 
Computing’s Notebook Torture Test.' 
Winning the “Desktop Replacement” 
category meant our notebook had 
to endure baking, freezing, drop- 
ping, and of course, spilling. Our 
newest generation of Versa note- 
books is built to be as durable as 
our last. Pre-installation with 
Windows NT® Workstation 4.0 
adds to the performance and sys- 
tem reliability you expect from 
NEC computers. No matter where 
your business takes you, we’re 
confident there’s a Versa notebook 
that fits your needs. Even if you 
need one that goes well with 
cream and sugar. For more info 
go to www.nec-computers.com or 
call 877-207*7991. 



NEC notebooks pre-installed with 
Windows NT Workstation 4.0 — 
built better for business. 



pentium®/// 





New -Versa LXi 

Premium performance and jlexibility 


New-Versa VX 

Convenience and value 


New-Versa FX 

Full-size features in an ultra-portable chassis 


• Intel* mobile Pentium ® III processor 
500MHz or 450MHz 

• 1 5. Of' or 14.1" XGA TFT display, 

S3 * Savage /MX" video with 
8MB 125MHz SGRAM 

• Up to 18GB 2 removable hard disk drive 

• Up to 512MB SDRAM at 100MHz 

• Modular Versa Bay “ III supports 
DVD-ROM] CD-ROM, second battery 
or second hard disk drive 

• Internal Mini PCI communication options 

• Windows ® 98 or Windows NT 


• Intel mobile Pentium III processor 450MHz 
available 

• Up to 14. 1" XGA TFT display, ATI * 
RAGE 1M MOBILITY-M video with 
4MB SDRAM 

• Up to 12GB 2 removable hard disk drive and 
256MB SDRAM 

• Sleek 1.6f' all-in-one chassis with CD-ROM 
or DVD-ROM' drive and 1.44MB 4 
diskette drive 

• Internal Mini PCI communication options 

• Available docking solution with 10/100 
LAN support 

• Prices starting at just $1,899 

• Windows 98 or Windows NT 


•3.4 lb / and l.Of' thin chassis 

• Intel mobile Pentium III processor 400MHz 

• Full-size keyboard (18.8mm keypitch) 

• Full-size display (12. 1" SVGA TFT) 

• Up to 12GB 2 hard disk drive and 
192MB SDRAM 

• Standard-, extended- and maximum-life 
battery options 

• V90 modem standard, internal Mini PCI 
10/100 LAN available 

• Three USB ports 

• Windows 98 



April 1999. When referring to hard drive capacity, GB stands for one billion bytes. Some utilities may indicate varying hard drive capacities. Total user-accessible capacity may vary depending on operating environments. 

'DVD movie playback is not supported under Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Data on DVD is read at a variable transfer rate from the innermost to the outermost track. ‘When referring to storage capacity, MB stands for one million bytes. Some utilities may indicate varying 

storage capacities. Total user-accessible capacity may vary depending on operating environments. 'Notebook computer only without 1.44MB diskette and CD-ROM drives and AC adapter. NEC is a registered trademark, Versa a U.S. registered trademark and VersaBay a trademark 

of NEC Corporation. All are used under license. Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Intel, the Intel Inside Logo and Pentium are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. 

• All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Information is subject to change without notice. ©2000 NEC Computers Inc. 



FIRST LOOKS 



Although the 
ViewSonic 
PJL1005 Lite- 
Bird lacks a 
zoom lens, it 
has other 
attractive 
features. 


One difference that you’ll im- 
mediately notice is the self-con- 
tained case: Instead of just a lens 
cap, the entire front edge of the 
projector folds up. 

The unit has a carrying handle 
built into the case (though Sony 
also includes a soft case as well.) 
This feature is both a strength 
and a weakness: It provides pro- 
tection for the device but, when 
open, the cover is intended to 
serve as the front legs. This does 
not allow for any height adjust- 
ment and makes positioning the 
image accurately on-screen dif- 
ficult. The projector does, how- 
ever, have a zoom lens. 

The SuperLite is a study in 
such contradictions. On the one 
hand, a USB connection and a 
handy utility make light work of 
adjusting the projector’s settings 
from your computer. On the 


other hand, you cannot access 
these settings from the remote 
control; you have to use the but- 
tons on the projector’s panel. 

On our tests, the screen vari- 
ance index was an attractive 1.30, 
but the brightness was just 434 
lumens, with a contrast ratio of 
only 87:1. These results are bet- 
ter than those of the Lightware 
Scout, which is in its price range 
but trails behind the others in 
this weight class. 

We noted no obvious pixel 
defects, and the image was sta- 
ble with no pixel jitter, but we 
did experience significant con- 
vergence problems; the green 
image was off by a full pixel- 
width or more on the right half 
of the screen. The convergence 
error was so great that it was dif- 
ficult to assess the focus using a 
black-and-white pattern. 


There was little posterization 
in video playback, though there 
were black outlines present on 
objects. The sound system 
showed some distortion at max- 
imum levels but had sufficient 
volume at lower levels. 

The Sony VPL-CSi SuperLite 
projector would have been a 
miracle a few years ago but now 
represents compromises be- 
tween image quality and cost. If 
price is a major consideration, 
then the unit is the best buy in 
its class, but for top-quality im- 
ages, you’ll want to consider 
some of the other options. 

Sony VPL-CSl SuperLite 

Street price: $2,700. Sony Electronics 
Inc., Park Ridge, NJ; 800-686-7669; 
www.sony.com. • • • 

ViewSonic 
PJL1005 LiteBird 

The ViewSonic PJL 1005 LiteBird 
($ 5,800 street) is priced well 
below the more expensive com- 
petition in this weight class. The 
XGA DLP projector produces 
some favorable test results but 
also has some flaws . 

Rated at 900 ANSI lumens, the 
LiteBird produced 721 lumens 
on our tests. The contrast ratio 
was a strong 165 : 1 , and the image 
variance index was a competi- 
tive 1 . 37 . 

Color tracking was fairly 
good, with an olive tint to the 
darker shades of gray. As with 


the NEC unit, yellow shades 
tended to have mustard tones, 
but the image was free of pixel 
jitter and had no ghosting or ap- 
parent defects. And because the 
LiteBird uses a single DLP panel, 
convergence was perfect. 

Video images showed some 
flaws, with slight cross-hatch ar- 
tifacts across the boundaries be- 
tween contrasting colors and 
strong posterization of facial 
tones. The sound system was 
easily overdriven, distorting at 
full volume. 

The most disappointing as- 
pect of the LiteBird was its op- 
tics. The lens carries the famous 
Carl Zeiss brand, yet we encoun- 
tered focus problems. When the 
center of the image was in focus, 
the corners were noticeably 
blurred. More important, the op- 
tical system does not have a 
zoom feature. There is a digital 
zoom feature, but that won’t 
help when you are adjusting the 
image size to fill the screen. 

The projector has a one- 
touch image synchronization 
feature that worked well. No 
tweaking of the image position 
or timing was required after 
using this feature. 

The LiteBird also has a handy 
cable feature. A single cable 
connects the projector to your 
computer’s graphics adapter. In 
the middle, you’ll find a large 
block with jacks for a variety of 
inputs, including composite 
video, stereo sound, USB, mouse, 
and even a pass-through con- 
nection for a monitor (some- 
thing missing on most projec- 
tors in this weight class). 

These useful features provide 
some balance to the other short- 
comings of the ViewSonic 
PJL1005 LiteBird. The projector is 
about as bright as the top per- 
formers in its class, but the lack 
of zoom and uniform focus are 
significant drawbacks. If you 
have a tight budget and can live 
with these shortcomings, the 
LiteBird is a good value. 

ViewSonic PJL1005 LiteBird 

Street price: $5,800. ViewSonic Corp., 
Walnut, CA; 800-888-8583; 
www.viewsonic.com. • •• 


KEY STATS 



We evaluated all the projectors with DisplayMate Technologies’ DisplayMate test 
software ( www.displaymate.com ). The Lumens measurement gauges the bright- 
ness of each unit. The Contrast Ratio indicates the difference between white and 
black in the images. The Brightness Variance indicates the difference between 
the brightest and dimmest measured points on the screen when projecting an all- 
white image (1.00 is a perfect score). 


A High scores are best 
T Low scores are best. 

Bold type denotes first place 
among reviewed units. 

PERFORMANCE 

y ■ 

A A ▼ 

FEATURES 

4 ? A 

/V 

// /■/ 
-*• / 

^ ■# 

Epson Power Lite 710c 

909 

146:1 

1.25 

$6,000 

Poly LCD 

XGA 

5.8 lbs. 

3.5x10.5x8.4 

Yes 

2,000 

NEC Multisync LT140 

735 

231:1 

1.24 

$6,400 

DLP 

XGA 

5.7 lbs. 

3.0x12.7x9.3 

Yes 

1,000 

Sony VPL-CSl SuperLite 

434 

87:1 

1.30 

$2,700 

Poly LCD 

SVGA 

6.4 lbs. 

2.9x11.0x8.3 

Yes 

2,000 

ViewSonic PJL1005 LiteBird 

721 

165:1 

1.37 

$5,800 

DLP 

XGA 

5.0 lbs. 

3.1x10.0x8.1 

No 

2,000 

Compaq MP1600 1 

598 

205:1 

1.11 

$4,500 

DLP 

XGA 

4.2 lbs. 

8.3 x 2.5 X 9.0 

No 

1,000 

InFocus LP330 2 

695 

162:1 

1.61 

$5,900 

DLP 

XGA 

4.8 lbs. 

2.5 X 8.8 X 9.8 

Yes 

1,000 

Lightware Scout 1 

331 

84:1 

1.53 

$2,750 

Poly LCD 

SVGA 

5.3 lbs. 

3.9x10.5x7.5 

No 

500 


RED denotes Editors’ Choice. (1) First Looks, 9/21/99; reported for comparison. (2) First Looks, 12/14/99; reported for comparison. 


36 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 





A Powerful Business PC With A Footprint 
About The Size Of A Footprint. 

Introducing the PowerMate R; 2000 Microdesktop. 


Pre-loaded with Microsoft’' Windows NT h Workstation - 
thc most reliable Windows'* operating system yet. 



When space is at a premium and flexibility is key, we 
have your solution — a complete business computer 
similar in size to an LCD monitor! The innovative 
NEC PowerMate 2000 PC, with a sleek 10.6" x 7.5" 
footprint, is designed to expand your usable workspace 
and for areas not equipped to accommodate bulkier 
computers. 

Maximize the performance of the PowerMate 2000 PC 
with Windows NT Workstation, the Windows you 
know but built to be more reliable for business. 

For more information, contact NEC Computers Inc., 
toll free, at 877-207-7991 or www.powermate2000.com. 


Celeron 


1 Standard features include an Intel* Celeron' - processor, a brilliant 15" LCD flat-panel display, 64MB RAM, a 6.4GB hard drive, and floppy and CD-ROM drives. Ships pre-loaded 
with either Microsoft NT Workstation or Windows 98. When referring to hard drive capacity, GB stands for one billion bytes. Some utilities may indicate varying hard drive 
capacities. Total user accessible capacity may vary depending on operating environments. 


©2000 NEC Computers Inc. NEC and PowerMate are registered trademarks of NEC Corporation. Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. 

Intel, the Intel Inside Logo are registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. 





(PC Sold Separately) 

(800) 888-8583 • Specifications subject to change without notice. • Copyright© 2000, ViewSonic Corporation.* Corporate names and trademarks stated herein are the 
property of their respective companies. • Intel and the Intel Inside logos are registered trademarks of Intel. • ‘Stanford Resources, Inc. Monitrak U.S. non-captive Desktop 
PC Monitor Shipments Q2 ‘99 and Display Search, Quarterly Supply vs. Demand Study: non-captive Desktop Monitors Q3 ‘99. • All rights reserved. 


Intel Inside... 
ViewSonic 
on top! 


The leader in analog is now the leader in DIGITAL. 



Introducing Optisync™ truly beyond digital technology.. .ViewSonic's first 
CRT displays offering the future today. Optimize your investment and Visual 
Computing™ experience with the new Optisync PF97 and PF77, ViewSonic's 
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latest DVI technology. With digital, you get a crisper, clearer, brighter picture. 
Both monitors also provide brilliant, precise images in the conventional analog 
mode. Equipped with a PerfectFlat® screen, these monitors provide a 
significant reduction of ambient light reflection and enhanced image 
detail. Both monitors have optimum performance at 1280 x 1024 
@ 85Hz for digital input, are TCO '99 and Energy 2000 
compliant for efficiency and both PC and Mac® compatible. 

The PF97 is 19" (18.0" viewable) with a ,25mm aperture 
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The PF77 is 17" (16.0" viewable) with a ,25mm aperture 
grille pitch. Both are backed by ViewSonic's 3 year limited 
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company that's won over 580 industry awards, visit our 
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OPTISYNC 


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PC Magazine 
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May 1999 


October 1999 


April 1999 


November 1999 




FIRST LOOKS 


Web Tools Woven Together 


BY LUISA SIMONE 

I f you are a professional Web 
developer, chances are that 
you already use at least one 
of Macromedia’s Web-centric 
products. With the release of 
Dreamweaver 3 Fireworks 3 Stu- 
dio ($399 direct), Macromedia 
has provided several compelling 
reasons to use two of its prod- 
ucts together. Macromedia has 
bundled the premiere HTML au- 
thoring tool and the leading 
Web graphics program as one 
low-cost product. More impor- 
tant, the company has provided 
mechanisms that make using 
Dreamweaver and Fireworks in 
tandem easier than ever. 

Dreamweaver and Fireworks 
are, in Macromedia’s parlance, 
JavaScriptable. Both experi- 
enced coders and nonprogram- 
mers will soon find themselves 
using this feature to create 
macro commands or extend 
each program’s functionality. 

Key to this power is the new 
History palette, which records 
all of your actions. You can use 
the History palette to undo any 
of your edits, to replay specific 
operations, or to save a series of 
actions as a command. Com- 
mands are written in JavaScript, 


so they’re usable across both PC 
and Mac platforms. 

Macromedia provides several 
simpler, more direct ways to in- 
tegrate Dreamweaver and Fire- 
works. A new wizard walks you 
through copying and pasting 
Fireworks HTML code into an 
existing Dreamweaver (or Go- 
Live or FrontPage) document. 
And Dreamweaver contains a 
new object, called Fireworks 
HTML, that lets you easily insert 
a Fireworks graphic and all of its 
associated slice objects and 
code into a Web document. 

Of course, Macromedia also 
sells Dreamweaver 3 ($299 di- 
rect, upgrade $129) and Fire- 
works 3 ($199, upgrade $99) as 
standalone products. So in addi- 
tion to the synergistic new func- 
tions, each program offers a 
number of new internal features. 

Macromedia concentrates on 
polishing Dreamweaver’s HTML 
tools. A pop-up Quick Tag Edi- 
tor lets you code snippets of 
HTML for a selected object in 
the WYSIWYG working view of 
your document. The HTML 
Source Inspector window has 
also been updated with line 
numbers, the ability to select en- 
tire lines of code from the mar- 


gin, and draggable selections. 

Dreamweaver has new ob- 
jects that simplify the HTML cre- 
ation process. A new table object 
lets you specify a source data 
file, and precoded symbols such 
as trademark and copyright 
characters obviate the need to 
hand-code special characters. In 
addition to the Fireworks HTML 
object, the program now has rich 
media objects for Shockwave 7 
movies, Flash 4 movies, and 
Generator objects. 

Fireworks 3 integrates critical 
preview functions directly in the 
workspace. You can preview 

Using Dreamweaver 
and Fireworks in 
tandem is now 
easier than ever. 

sliced objects containing multi- 
ple compression settings, com- 
pare different output options in 
two-up or four-up configura- 
tions, and view the shift in 
gamma when an image is dis- 
played on a Mac. You can even 
see JavaScript rollovers in action 
without exiting to a browser. 

Big productivity boosts are 
provided by the new Symbol li- 
brary. Not only does this let you 
quickly reuse images, but it also 
preserves the JavaScript code 


for buttons. There’s also a new 
wizard that automates the 
process of creating a rollover 
button. 

Most impressively, you no 
longer have to exit Fireworks to 
access image-correction filters. 
Both basic correction tools, in- 
cluding brightness/contrast and 
hue/saturation, and third-party 
filters have been implemented 
as editable Live Effects. 

We found the two products to 
be stable, but we do have a few 
caveats to report. Despite Macro- 
media’s minimum requirements, 
the advanced functions require 
substantial horsepower. We also 
found glitches in some of the 
sample JavaScript commands. 

Dreamweaver 3 Fireworks 3 
Studio is more than the sum of 
its parts. Both Dreamweaver and 
Fireworks — already top-notch 
tools — get significant new fea- 
tures. But it is the integration of 
the two that will make a big dif- 
ference for professional Web 
producers. 

Dreamweaver 3 

Fireworks 3 Studio 

Direct price: $399, upgrade 
$199/$249. Requires: 64MB RAM; 
60MB hard disk space; Microsoft 
Windows 95, 98, or NT 4.0 with Ser- 
vice Pack 3 or later. Macromedia Corp., 
800-457-1774; www.macromedia 
.com. • •••• 



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cup of coffee - especially if the 
places you travel happen to be 
on the Web. So, if you can‘t 
leave your computer, we’ll 
bring the coffee to you. Now 
you can order your favorite 
blent - - y ; 


Welcome to SCAAt • one of the 
world's largest purveyors of fine 
coffee with coffee shops In 670 cities 
worldwide. We believe that no 
matter where you go, you should 
always be able to enjoy the simple 
pleasure of a good cup of coffee - 
especially if the places you travel 
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With the new pop-up Quick Tag Editor, Dreamweaver 3 (left) brings HTML coding into the WYSIWYG workspace. Floating palettes 
provide access to a number of new features, including HTML Styles (lower right) and a history of your edits (lower center). 

New tabs give you access to internal previews within Fireworks (right). As shown here, the preview window can display JavaScript 
rollovers. Note the new palettes for image-correction filters, a history of edits, a symbol library, and optimization options. 


40 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 






INTRODUCING AN 
LCD PROJECTOR SO DEPENDABLE. 
YOU'LL WANT TO TAKE IT 



EVERYWHERE. 





AND SO PORTABLE, YOU CAN 

(SHOWN ACTUAL SIZE) 


iSMflai 


SSlilll 




■Hi 


Bm 


Though it weighs under 6 pounds, the PowerLite" 710c 
performs like a true heavyweight, giving you everything 
you need to captivate an audience. Perfect color. 
Razor-sharp detail. And plenty of brightness - even for 
rooms that are lit. Plus, when it comes to clarity, no DLP can 


beat our three LCDs. There's even Private Line* phone 
support for immediate assistance. With all that, there's a 
lot more to the PowerLite 710c than meets the eye. For 
while its size may make it the smallest projector you've 
ever seen, its performance will surely make it the greatest. 


Epson iso registered trademark ot Seiko Epson Corporation. PowerLite.' SizeWise and Private Line are trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of Epson America, Inc. ©1999 Epson America, Inc. 





YOU'VE GOT TO SEE IT IN 


EPSON color 



Epson; the world's number one projector company, brings 
you the PowerLite 710c featuring: 5.8 pound weight • 10.5" x 
8.4" x 3.5" dimensions • Keystone correction • 1000 ANSI 
lumens with XGA resolution • SizeWise™ technology gives you 
compatibility with computer resolutions up to 1600 x 1200. 

For more information or a free demo, visit www.projectors.epson.com or call 1-888-446-5538 (Oper. 3101). 




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pentiunrj 



Thinner. 

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With its ultra-light design, the powerful new VAIO® 505 
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Wherever your business takes you, the new VAIO 505 
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even though its exceptionally thin and lightweight, this ultra-slim 
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• Integrated V.90/56K modem 1 

• High-capacity Lithium-Ion Battery 

•i.LINK® (IEEE-1394) interface for DV editing and 
data transfer between compatible VAIO computers 

• Sony Memory Stick® media slot 

Z505RX 

• Intel Pentium® II processor 400 MHz 2 

• 8.1 GB 3 fixed hard drive 

• 1 28 MB SDRAM (expandable to 1 92 MB max.) 

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36 month business lease only $93.96* 


• One type II PC card slot with CardBus support 
•Two USB ports 

• Bundled i.LINK port replicator and external 
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• Microsoft® Windows® 98 Second Edition 

• Microsoft Works Suite 99, including 
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Z505R 

• Intel Pentium II processor 366 MHz 2 

• 6.4 GB 3 fixed hard drive 

• 64 MB SDRAM (expandable to 192 MB max.) 

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36 month business lease only $80.04* 

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Upgrade to 128 MB RAM ADD $150.00 


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• 0.9" thin, lightweight design, magnesium-alloy case 
•10.4" XGA TFT screen 

• 6.4 GB 3 hard drive 

• 64 MB SDRAM (expandable to 128 MB max.) 

• Integrated V.90/56K modem 1 

• High-capacity Lithium-Ion Battery 


• i.LINK (IEEE-1 394) interface for DV editing and 
data transfer between compatible VAIO computers 

• One type II PC card slot with CardBus support 

• One USB port 

• Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition 

• Microsoft Works Suite 99, including 
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• Bundled doublecapacity battery, port replicator 
and external USB floppy disk drive 

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36 month business lease only $62.64* 

Customize with: 

Upgrade to 128 MB RAM ADD $150.00 


N505VE 

• Intel Celeron™ processor 333 MHz 2 
•2.7 lbs. light 

• Bundled standard battery, external USB floppy 
disk drive (port replicator sold separately) 

$ 1 , 399.99 

(After $100 rebate 4 ) 

36 month business lease only $48.72* 

Customize with: 

Upgrade to 128 MB RAM ADD $150.00 


Receive 2,500 FREE frequent flyer miles from one of six major airlines (American, Continental, Delta, 
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Receive a $1 50 rebate with the purchase of a N505VX or N505VE and a PCGA-CD51 CD-ROM Drive. 7 


Receive a $100 rebate with the purchase of a Sony VAIO PC and a Sony 
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• External 1 6X (max.) CD-ROM Drive 

PCGA-CD51: $299.99. 

• External 4X4X20X CD-RW Drive 

PCGA-CDRW51: $499.99. 

• Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery 

Triple capacity: 

PCGA-BPZ52: $399.99. 


Standard: PCGA-BPZ51: $199.99. 

(One included with unit.) 


• Port Replicator with i.LINK PCGA-UPR5: $99.99. 
Ports: Parallel, Serial, VGA Monitor, i.LINK and USB. 
(One included with unit.) 


• Monitor Adapter PCGA-DA5: $49.99. 

Connects VGA monitor without port replicator. 


• Leather Carrying Case 
PCGA-CCZ5: $149.99. 

Custom case includes detachable 
compartments for its accessories. 



•USB Mouse PCGA-UMS1: $49.99. 


CISiSSSSSSHHL 

• External 16X tax.) CD-ROM Drive PCGA-CD51: $299.99. 

• External 4X4X20X CD-RW Drive PCGA-CDRW51: $499.99. 



Stereo Speakers PCGA-SP51: $99.99. 

External snapon speakers that 
give you even more stereo sound. 

Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery 
Quad capacity: PCGA-BP54: $499.99. 
Double capacity: PCGA-BP52: $299.99. 

Standard capacity: PCGA-BP51: $149.99. 


• Battery Charger PCGA-BC5: $1 99.99. You can charge 
two batteries simultaneously. Compatible with Quad, Double 
and Standard capacity batteries. 

• Port Replicator with i.LINK PCGA-UPR5: $99.99. 
Ports: Parallel, Serial, VGA Monitor, i.LINK and USB. 
(One included with N505VX.) 


• Monitor Adapter PCGA-DA5: $49.99. Connects 
VGA monitor without port replicator. 

• Leather Carrying Case PCGA-CC5: $149.99. Custom case 
includes detachable compartments for its accessories. 


•USB Mouse PCGA-UMS1: $49.99. 


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FIRST LOOKS 


Compaq’s New Appliance PC 



BY BRUCE AND 
MARGE BROWN 

I oining the growing list of 
vendors offering alternatives 
to traditional PCs, Com- 
paq Computer Corp. has intro- 
duced its own version of the 
kinder, gentler computer. These 
new machines differ from tradi- 
tional PCs in two respects: They 
leave behind conventional paral- 
lel and serial ports and are de- 
signed to make both setup and 
day-to-day operation easier. 
Based on price, bundled compo- 
nents, and overall ease of access 
and setup, the Compaq Presario 
EZ2000 series is an unquali- 
fied success, particularly for 
users seeking hassle-free com- 
puting, Internet access, and MP3 
recording. 

The Compaq Presario EZ- 
2000 series is available in two 
models: the tested 500-MHz 
Celeron-based EZ2200 with CD- 
ROM and CD-RW drives ($1,000 
street, without monitor) and the 
EZ2700, based on a 550-MHz 


Pentium III with an 8X DVD- 
ROM, a software MPEG decoder, 
and CD-RW drives ($1,500 street 
after rebate, with a 17-inch 
monitor). The EZ2200 is sold 
through direct and retail chan- 
nels; the EZ2700 is sold through 
direct channels and via re- 


tail-based kiosks only. 

Each of the models includes 
64MB of SDRAM as well as the 
Intel 8ioe chip set. The EZ2200 
is equipped with a 17GB, 7,200- 
rpm Ultra DMA ATA66 hard disk 
and a 56-Kbps V.90 modem; 
the EZ2700 has a 20GB hard 
disk, a single-card connection 
solution with an integrated 56K 
modem, a i-Mbps Home PNA, 
and a 10-Mbps Ethernet connec- 
tion (only one of the network 
connections can be used at a 
time). Bundled software for both 
of the models includes Just- 
Burn! CD-R software, Microsoft 
Works 2000, and RioPort Audio 
Manager. 

The EZ2000 series includes 
an Internet/multimedia USB 
keyboard and USB mouse and 
uses a conventional monitor. 
The off-white monitor is bun- 
dled with the EZ2700 and is 
available for $400 (street) with 
the EZ2200. 

With no parallel or serial 
ports, the EZ2000 series can ac- 


cept only USB (or rare 1394 
FireWire) peripherals with- 
out optional third-party port 
adapters. In addition to the four 
USB ports on the PC, the key- 
board has two ports for low- 
power USB devices (typically, 
one is used by the mouse). 


Setup is aided by a clearly la- 
beled poster and color-coded 
ports and cables. The Digital 
Dashboard LCD status screen, 
located on the top front of the 
system, prompts you to connect 
the keyboard and mouse. 

Software wizards assist users 
in connecting to the Internet via 
existing or new accounts with 
AOL, Compaq.net, or NetZero. 
ISP start-up deals include 150 
hours of free Internet access 
during the first month with 
both the Compaq.net and AOL 
plans. You can also select an al- 
ternative ISP but will need to 
use the standard Microsoft 
Windows 98 Internet Connec- 
tion wizard. 

We were able to get the unit 
fully up and running in only 10 


minutes, including a connection 
to the Internet via our own 
EarthLink account. After instal- 
lation, the Digital Dashboard 
displays the time in large nu- 
merals, but it can also signal in- 
coming e-mail, attached USB and 
FireWire accessories, and sys- 
tem status. 

There are four drive bays 
in the system, all of which were 
used in both models. The front 
panel — which doubles as a cable 
manager — slides into the side 
of the case to expose the floppy 
disk drive, the CD-ROM drive, 
and the CD-RW drive, in addition 
to two USB ports and one Fire- 
Wire port. 

Compaq backs the Presario 
EZ2000 series with a one-year 
parts-and-labor warranty with 
toll-free technical support for 
hardware for one year. The 
Compaq Presario EZ2200 has an 
impressive number of design 
features that simplify use and 
configuration and make the sys- 
tem a good choice for main- 
stream users who want to 
browse the Web — as well as for 
those who want to burn CDs. 

Compaq Presario EZ2200 

Street price: With 17-inch monitor, 
$1,325 (after $75 rebate): without 
monitor, $1,000. Compaq Computer 
Corp., Houston: 800-345-1518; 
www.compaq.com/athome. 

• •••• 


BENCHMARK TESTS 



Although it is designed primarily for ease of use rather than performance, the 
Compaq Presario EZ2200 holds its own against more traditional PCs with 
equivalent processors, such as the Compaq Presario 5834. Our Winstone bench- 
mark tests measure performance on business and content creation applica- 
tions. Other tests gauge performance of disk and graphics subsystems. Note 
that the Presario 5834 that we tested previously had a slight advantage because 
of its additional system memory. 


High scores are best. 

RAM 

Chip set 

ZD Business 
Winstone 99 

ZD Content 
Creation 
Winstone 2000 

ZD Business Disk 
WinMark 99 

(thousands of 
bytes per second) 

ZD Business 
Graphics 
WinMark 99 

Compaq Presario EZ2200 
Compaq Presario 5834* 

64MB 

96MB 

Intel 810e 
Intel 810 

18.4 

20.3 

17.8 

18.7 

3,445 

N/A 

87.6 

N/A 


Both machines had Celeron/500 CPUs. We ran all tests at l,024-by-768 resolution, with 24 bit color. 

* Reviewed 12/14/99: reported for comparison. N/A-Not applicable: We did not run the test on this system. 


We were able to get the EZ2000 up and 
running — and on the Internet — in only 
10 minutes. 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 49 



FIRST 

Comparison Shopping Online 


LOOKS 


Home Computers Software Electronics Books Videe 


BUYBOOKS.COM 


eSctarch | Order Tracking | Cift Co 


Product Information 



BY DON WILLMOTT 

H ave you developed loy- 
alties to particular on- 
line stores yet, or do 
you always search for the lowest 
price? If you’re the bargain- 
hunting type, help is at hand. 

ClickTheButton.com makes it 
very easy to compare prices at 
233 retailers of books, electron- 
ics, hardware/software, movies, 
music, and toys. After the sim- 
plest of installations (no regis- 
tration required), you’ll find a 
red bull’s-eye icon in your Mi- 
crosoft Windows system tray. 
When you land on a product 
page at a shopping site, click on 
the icon and, after a short wait, 
you’ll be presented with a list of 
online stores selling that prod- 
uct, along with current prices. 

We shopped for Michael 
Crichton’s new novel, Timeline. 
ClickTheButton.com returned 
results from 12 stores, with prices 
ranging from $13.45 to $26.95. 
Though we didn’t like the way 
the results first listed 11 places to 
buy the large-type edition of the 
book, we did like the way the ser- 
vice factored in two to four types 
of shipping at each store. 

The Comparison Cart (regis- 
tration required) is great when 
shopping for several different 
items. Simply dump the items in 
the cart as you go and do the 
comparison price checks after 
you’re done shopping. 

Next, we shopped for a Toshi- 


ba PDR-M 4 digital camera. Click- 
TheButton.com showed us 
prices at 40 stores, from a low of 
$ 388.95 at Buy.com to a high of 
$564 at Acentia. Unfortunately, 
these listings were borrowed 
from CNET’s computer shopping 
site, so they didn’t include the 
kind of in-depth shipping in- 
formation that our book search 
included. 

Nevertheless, ClickTheBut- 
ton.com is an easy-to-use shop- 
ping assistant that clearly illus- 
trates just how wide-ranging 
online prices can be. 

ClickTheButton.com 

ClickTheButton.com Inc., 

New York; 212-929-2888; www 
.clickthebutton.com. • • • • 

DealPilot and its always-on ad- 
junct DealPilot Express are in 
public prerelease, and it shows. 
Right now, this shopping buddy 
knows only about books, music, 
and movies, and its listings do 
not include Buy.com, which typ- 
ically offers very low prices. 

As you shop, you see a gray 
bar at the bottom of your brows- 
er window. When you land on a 
product you’re interested in, 
DealPilot goes out and searches, 
and when you click on the re- 
sults, you get another unattrac- 
tive gray pop-up window to 
scroll through. The results are 
sorted by total price (including 
shipping). 

A search for Michael Crich- 
ton’s Timeline came up with 47 

More Ways to Shop 


listings, which seemed like a lot 
until we realized that each ship- 
ping option from each store got 
its own separate listing, making 
for a confusing list. 

To compete with other prod- 
ucts, DealPilot will have to add 
many more stores and cate- 
gories and work on its interface. 

DealPilot 

Dealpilot.com, Ludwigsburg, 

Germany; 49-7141-250043; 
www.dealpilot.com. •• 


R U Sure, currently in public pre- 
release, is the flashiest of the 
shopping buddies. This shopping 
buddy has the most complicated 
registration and setup, but in the 
end you get several shopping op- 
tions, including one in which you 
don’t visit the online stores at all 
but rather search for items di- 
rectly through R U Sure’s com- 
parative price interface. 

Our search for Timeline yield- 
ed 13 results, and this time the 
low-price winner was Ama- 
zon.com, at $17.42. The search 
for the digital camera brought 24 
listings, from the same $388.95 
price at Buy.com that ClickThe- 
Button.com had identified to 
$541 at Computer Quick. 

If you use the AutoPilot pop- 
up option, R U Sure works very 
much like ClickTheButton.com 
and does a very good job of 
identifying low prices in a wide 
variety of product categories. 

R U Sure 

R-U-Sure LTD., Tel Aviv, Israel; 972-3- 
6888832; www.rusure.com. • • • 


F lyswat ( www.flyswat.com ) is a fascinat- 
ing Internet Explorer add-on that, like 
GuruNet, highlights lots of words on Web 
pages so you can click on them to get more 
information. Find the word "Seattle” highlight- 
ed, for example, and a click brings you hotel, 
weather, and travel information and other 
related links, flyswat, also available through 
mySimon.com ( www.mysimon.com ), can help 
you do some live comparisons. 

PriceWorld.com ( www.priceworld.com ) is a 
specialized Web site that helps compare prices 


on high-tech products. Our digital camera 
query yielded 25 locations to buy it, and the 
best deal found by PriceWorld.com was the 
same as the others: $388.95 at Buy.com. 

If you’d like to take Amazon.com with you 
wherever you go online, try zBubbles (www 
. zBubbles.com ). zBubbles, which works only 
with IE 5.0, will pop up as you shop and tell you 
how much an item costs at Amazon.com. You 
can also read recommendations others have 
left and take advantage of related links provid- 
ed by Alexa —DW 


50 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



“Introducing LiteBird ... 

It’s going to do wonders for your image.” 



When you’re giving a presentation, the littlest 
things can often make the biggest impressions. 
That’s the idea behind the new ViewSonic 
PJL1005 LiteBird Projector: 

• Only 5.5 pounds-a real featherweight 

• Travels light- just toss it in your bag and go 

• Outstanding picture quality with 
state-of-the-art Zeiss® Optics 

• 900 ANSI lumens* for brilliant images 
and easy viewing 

• XGA Resolution (1,024 x 768) for 
sharper images 

• Dual input for versatility (computer & 
video source) 

• Wireless remote 

The LiteBird is just another example of the 
versatility found in our entire family of 
ViewSonic projectors. The LiteBird Projector 
from ViewSonic® It’ll do wonders for your image. 

For more information about LiteBird, 
call (800) 888-8583 or visit our website 
at www.LiteBird.com. 



A TEXAS INSTRUMENTS TECHNOLOGY 


* Peak brightness. Internet: www.viewsonic.com • Specifications subject to change without notice, Copyright © 2000 ViewSonic Corporation, all rights reserved. • Corporate names and trademarks are the property of their respective companies. 


FIRST LOOKS 



Break free 
from head- 
sets with a 
digital array 
microphone. 


Freedom of Speech 


BY GREG ALWANG 

D igital array microphones 
let you literally cut the 
cord — from your PC, 
that is — and use voice recogni- 
tion and teleconferencing soft- 
ware without being tethered to a 
headset microphone. These new 
microphones use integrated 
DSPs (digital signal processors) 
to differentiate between speech 
and background noise, providing 
superior noise cancellation rela- 
tive to traditional headset and 
directional microphones. 

By placing several micro- 
phone elements in the units, 
vendors can use a process called 
adaptive beamforming, in which 
the microphone focuses in on a 
sound source, canceling out 
background noise. This also lets 
you move around in front of the 
microphone while speaking, 
which you can’t do easily with a 
headset or directional mike. 

We tested the Andrea DA-400 
Desktop Array Microphone and 
the Labtec ClearVoice Digital 
Microphone. We tried each mi- 
crophone with Dragon Natu- 
rallySpeaking Preferred 4.0 and 
Lernout & Hauspie’s L&H Voice 
Xpress Professional 4.0 and had 
very good results. 

The size of a telephone handset, 
the Andrea DA-400 Desktop Array 
Microphone ($149.95 list) con- 
nects to the mike-in port on 
your sound card and easily fits 
between your keyboard and 
monitor. There are no propri- 
etary drivers, so the unit is oper- 


ational as soon as you plug it in. 

Like the Labtec ClearVoice, 
the DA-400 converts analog 
input to digital signals and uses 
its own beamforming algorithms 
to narrow the “wanted” acoustic 
signal by canceling the “unwant- 
ed” noise. The algorithms even 
cancel the ringing phones and 
noisy conversations found in 
typical office environments. 

With both NaturallySpeaking 
and Voice Xpress, we had only 
to rerun the microphone tuning 
options to set the input levels 
after connecting the DA-400 
(that is, we didn’t have to fully 
reenroll as a new speaker). Sur- 


Web Talk 

BY GREG ALWANG 

L ernout & Hauspie’s Now 
You’re Talking on the Web 

($49.95 list) lets you con- 
trol your browser, e-mail, and 
instant-messaging (IM) soft- 
ware by voice. Geared to users 
who do a lot of Web surfing or 
are comfortable using voice 
recognition, Now You’re Talk- 
ing simplifies many tasks with 
Web-centric natural-language 
commands. 

L&H’s SayLinks feature in- 
dexes the links on a Web page so 
that you can say the number of a 
link you want. You can also nav- 
igate and enter URL addresses by 
voice, though we were forced to 
revert to spelling mode when 
entering most nonstandard ad- 


prisingly, recognition accuracy 
was indistinguishable from that 
of our high-quality Andrea NC- 
61 headset microphone. 

Extremely sensitive, the DA- 
400 picked up heavy’ keystrokes 
as spoken words, but the prob- 
lem went away when we placed 
the unit on top of our monitor. 
Recognition was consistently 
good within 45 degrees off cen- 
ter of the microphone, even 
when we backed 4 or 5 feet away. 

If you use speech recognition 
or audio/video conferencing 
software frequently, we highly 
recommend the Andrea DA-400 
Desktop Array Microphone. 

Andrea DA-400 Desktop 

Array Microphone 

List price: $149.95. Andrea Electronics 
Corp., Melville, NY; 800-442-7787; www- 
.andreaelectronics.com. • • • • • 

Unlike the DA-400, the Labtec 
ClearVoice Digital Microphone 

($130 street) plugs into the line 
input on your sound card. The 
unit is about one-third wider 
than the DA-400 but still fits 
comfortably in front of your 
monitor. A very handy power- 
indicator light on the front 
switches from red to green when 
it detects audio input, so you 
know when it’s picking up your 


voice or when you’re out of 
range. The power-on button 
doubles as a mute button, so you 
can quickly suspend audio input. 

While processing audio sig- 
nals, the ClearVoice implements 
noise cancellation at multiple 
steps to catch unwanted noise 
from different environmental 
and natural sources, such as 
room fans, radios, or noise from 
your PC’s electrical components. 
The unit also listens for and re- 
duces echoes and reverberations. 

The ClearVoice was even 
more sensitive than the DA-400, 
and we had to tweak input levels 
manually to keep it from picking 
up background noise. The 
ClearVoice required reenroll- 
ment in both voice recognition 
packages as new speakers be- 
fore we were able to obtain good 
results with the software. 

On our voice recognition 
tests, the ClearVoice’s recogni- 
tion was not as consistent as the 
DA-40o’s. Either product is a 
great alternative to a headset, 
but the Andrea DA-400 Desktop 
Array Microphone has the edge. 

Labtec ClearVoice 

Digital Microphone 

Street price: $130. Labtec Inc., 
Vancouver, WA; 360-896-2000; 
www.labtec.com. • • • 



dresses, which can be slower 
than typing the address. 

When dictating into IM or 
chat applications, phrases are 
automatically converted into 
conventional chat abbrevia- 
tions— “by the way” becomes 
“BTW,” for example. E-mail- 
specific commands such as “cre- 


ate an e-mail to Mary” 
are supported in AOL 
Mail, Eudora Pro, luno 
Mail, and Microsoft 
Outlook. 

All in all, we find 
controlling a browser 
by voice takes some 
getting used to. If 
voice control of Web- 
centric applications is 
a necessity, you’ll find 
Now You’re Talking 
useful; otherwise you 
may surf faster using 
your keyboard and mouse. 

Now You’re Talking on the Web 

List price: $49.95. Requires: 32MB 
RAM (48MB for Windows NT); 200MB 
hard disk space; Sound Blaster or 
compatible sound card; Microsoft 
Windows 95, 98, or NT 4.0 with 
Service Pack 3. Lernout & Hauspie 
Speech Products Inc., Burlington, MA; 
781-203-5000; www.lhs.com. • • • 


52 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 





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trademarks, and Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Many products are engineered to Gateway specifications, which vary from retail versions. Prices and configurations subject to change without 

notice or obligation. *Financing available on approved credit through independent lender. Payment based on 48 months at a 14.9% APR. Your payment may be higher 
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purchasing support package upgrades. Trade-in available between the first day of the 24th month and the last day of the 49th month after delivery of Youn)Ware product Gateway will give you the average wholesale value for the product in good condition using the then-current Orion Blue Book or similar 
commercially reasonable industry standard as determined in Gateway's sole discretion. Other terms and conditions apply. Call for details. 2. Maximum data transfer rate dependent upon variables including particular modems with which you are communicating, telephone lines, communications software and 

















ULTRA-MOBILE NOTEBOOKS THAT 


LifeBook B Series 


TAKE YOU FARTHER THAN EVER. 

Going beyond your expectations (and anywhere 
else you care to go) are the new LifeBook 
B Series Mini-notebooks and the LifeBook 
S Series Ultra-mobile Notebooks. The B Series 
is barely there at approximately 3 lbs., with 
buckets of high-performance features like a 
built-in modem and ethernet, touch screen 
with stylus and one-touch application launchers. 
And there’s no stopping the light-weight 
S Series with a scant size, scorching Intel® 



Compact Convenience, 
Maximized Power 

• Intel Celeron™ processor 400MHz 

• 10.4" SVGA TFT display (XGA external) 

• Touch screen with stylus 

• Up to 192MB memory 

• Large 6GB hard drive 

• Optional external CD-ROM Drive 

• Built-in 10/100 Ethernet 

• Built-in 56K 1 V.90 modem 

• Port replicator included 

• Approximately 3 lbs. 3 

• Microsoft® Windows® 98 preinstalled 

Starting at $l,799 2 



LifeBook S Series 


Truly Innovative for 

the Way You Work. 

• Intel Pentium III processor 400MHz 

• 12.1" SVGA TFT display (XGA external) 

• Up to 128MB memory 

• 9GB or 6GB hard drive 

• Flexible bay supports FDD, SuperDisk M 1 20 
CD-ROM, DVD, CD-RW, 2nd hard drive 
2nd Battery, or weight saver - 

even a digital camera bay device 

• Built-in 10/100 Ethernet 

• Built-in 56K 1 V.90 modem 

• Port replicator included 

• Includes LAN pass-thru 

• Less than I" to 1.25", under 4 lbs. 3 

• Microsoft® Windows® 98 preinstalled 


Starting at $2,299 2 


Pentium® III speed and serious extras like a 
built-in flexible bay, brilliant 12.1" TFT display 
and a standard port replicator. With both of 
these mobile masterpieces, there are no borders. 
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• Intel Pentium III processor 500MHz, 

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• 14.1" or 13.3" XGA TFT display 

• Up to 128MB or 64MB SDRAM 

• 1 0GB or 6.4GB hard drive 

• Flexible bay supports FDD, SuperDisk™ 1 20 
CD-ROM, DVD, CD-RW, 2nd hard drive 
2nd Battery, or weight saver - 

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• Microsoft® Windows® 98 preinstalled 


Starting at $i,699 2 


1-877-FPCDIRECT WWW .FUJITSU-PC.COM 



pentium'.^ 


MOVING WITH YOU 

Fujitsu and the Fujitsu logo are registered trademarks and LifeBook is a trademark of Fujitsu Limited. Intel, the Intel Inside Logo 
and Pentium are registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of InLel Corporation. Microsoft and Windows are registered 
trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. 
©1999 Fujitsu PC Corporation. All rights reserved. 'Actual speeds over U.S. telephone lines vary and are less than 56Kbps due to 
current FCC regulations and line conditions. The internal modems on all Fujitsu notebooks from Fujitsu PC Corporation are not qualified 
for use with telephone systems outside the United States and Canada and may not operate in other countries. 2 Estimated street prices 
are subject to change. 3 Weight may vary by configuration. 


FUJITSU 

FUJITSU PC CORPORATION 


FIRST LOOKS 


Sony’s 007 Notebook 



BY JOHN MORRIS 

C hoosing a notebook PC 
inevitably involves com- 
promise. You can either 
purchase a laptop that almost 
mirrors the performance and fea- 
tures of a desktop PC, although 
you wouldn’t want to carry it 
around, or you can opt for a mini- 
notebook and give up lots of fea- 
tures. The Sony vaio XG9 ($3,300 
street) is a notebook designed to 
strike a better balance between 
portability and features. 

Sony’s most obvious new fea- 
ture is the VAIO XG9’s cooling 
system, called the Intercooler. 
Like the wing of an airplane, the 
VAIO XG9 has a flap that swivels 
down when you open the note- 
book PC. This creates room for 
a line of vents at the back of the 
system that, combined with an 
unusual liquid cooling system 
and fan, help to improve heat 
dissipation. 

As a side benefit, the Inter- 
cooler flap angles the notebook 
slightly, so that the keyboard is 
in a more comfortable position. 
The keys have also been re- 
designed for precision: Each is 
supported by a stainless steel 
mechanism, which makes the 
VAIO XG9 feel more like a type- 
writer. Although it took a while, 
we grew to like the tactile feed- 
back and the mechanical sound 
that the keys made when typing. 
The keys have reflective paint, 
so you can see them in low light. 

With the standard 4X DVD 
drive, the VAIO XG9 weighs in at 
6.6 pounds, but you can also 
leave the modular bay empty (a 
plastic cover is included), and its 
weight then drops to 5.9 pounds. 
The hot-swappable bay can also 
accommodate a floppy disk drive 
(included), a CD-RW drive ($550 
street), a 10GB hard disk ($800), 
or an extra battery ($250). 

Our test system included a 
500-MHz Pentium III processor, 
128MB of RAM, an 18.1GB hard 
disk, a 13.3-inch XGA (1,024-by- 
768) TFT display, and a NeoMag- 
ic MagicMedia 256AV graphics 
accelerator with 2.5MB of video 


RAM. Other standard features in- 
clude two Type II PC Card slots, 
an integrated 56K modem, and 
single USB and FireWire ports. 

On our benchmark tests, the 
unit was on a par with other Pen- 
tium III notebooks (“Pentium III 
Goes Mobile,” First Looks, De- 
cember 1, 1999). The VAIO XG9 
notched a ZD Business Win- 
stone 99 score of 23.2, a slightly 
better-than-average score (20.5) 
on our ZD Content Creation 
Winstone 2000 test, and a score 
of 2 hours 11 minutes on our Bat- 
teryMark test. In addition to a 
touch pad, the VAIO XG9 has a 
Jog Dial, a feature borrowed 
from Sony’s consumer electron- 

Some of the most 
appealing aspects of 
the VAIO XG9 are not 
standard features 
but options. 

ics devices. On the desktop, the 
Jog Dial is most useful for per- 
forming operations such as ad- 
justing volume, brightness, and 
contrast, as well as for launching 
applications. The Job Dial is con- 
text-sensitive so, when you are 
in Word, for example, you can 

Take an 
Extra Drive 

BY BILL HOWARD 

N eed lots of storage when 
you’re traveling with 
your notebook PC? The 
new IBM Travelstar 10E external 
hard disk plugs into your note- 
book’s PC Card slot, self-config- 
ures within seconds without an 
external CD or floppy disk, and 
gives you 10GB of storage for $550 
(street). The vendor also offers 
an 8GB model for $450. 

Other vendors have done 
external hard disks before. The 
Travelstar is the best external 
hard disk to date, not only 


use it to scroll documents. 

Some of the most appealing 
aspects of the VAIO XG9 are not 
standard features but options. 
For instance, the Privacy Screen 
($300 street) is a panel that 
snaps onto the display, making it 
impossible to view the screen 
from the next seat over on the 
plane. This option is so effective 
that we wish other notebook 
makers would implement it. 

Another great option is the XG 
Dock ($350 street), a port repli- 
cator that is packed with multi- 
media features. In addition to the 
standard serial, parallel, and USB 
ports, you get an optical digital 
output for connecting the system 
to surround-sound speaker sys- 
tems, an S-link audio/video in- 
terface for controlling devices 


such as CD changers, S-video 
and NTSC video-out, and a 
FireWire port. 

The VAIO XG9 includes Sony’s 
generous bundle of video- and 
image-editing applications, as 
well as several of its own utilities 
for managing battery power and 
other system functions. The 
VAIO XG9 is backed by a one- 
year warranty. 

Although not the thinnest or 
lightest unit around, the Sony 
VAIO XG9 is a solid performer 
with great multimedia capabili- 
ties and enough gadgets to keep 
James Bond busy. 

Sony VAIO XG9 

Street price: With Pentium 111/500, 
128MB RAM, 18.1GB hard disk, $3,300. 
Sony Electronics Inc., San Jose, CA; 888- 
315-7669; www.sony.com/pc. • • • • 



be-cause it’s small at 1 by 4 by 
7 inches (HWD) and light (12 
ounces) but also because the 
disk has better capacity, does 
not require a transformer, draws 
just over 2 watts (peak), avoids 
the pokey parallel port, and 


lives inside a shock- 
mounted housing. We 
found that the Travel- 
star delivers real-world 
throughput of 1 MBps (the 
claimed spec is 2 MBps). 

IBM bundles RioPort 
digital audio jukebox, data 
encryption, and backup 
software. When the disk 
first boots, it offers to back 
up the entire contents of 
your notebook. 

The IBM Travelstar 10E 
takes up more space than PC 
Card solutions, but it offers 
much more storage. 

IBM Travelstar 10E 

Street price: $550. IBM Corp., 

San Jose, CA; 888-426-5124; 
www.ibm.com. • • • • • 


56 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 






Internet 


■I CREATIV! 


Turn Your PC Into a Digital MP3 Jukebox 


CREATIV! 


SoundWohks 


• Expewu* any mMM «*>«*» SPO* euxput: 

Sawn.VWlftWi'tiWf fNSM 

« Eniov •tacMoietfey -Mr'iouied Wooioo tutr*oelit tor powerful mm 

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77»c ffesr Digital Clarity from a 3-piece Speaker System 



Turn your PC into a digital jukebox 

The Internet is alive with great music. The MP3 revolution is changing the way we listen and record music. 
But this new world can be confusing and distorted if you don’t have the right tools. 

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©2000 Creative Technology Ltd. All brand or product names listed are trademarks or registered trademarks and are 
property of their respective holders. If you're not on the net, give us a call at 800.998.1000 for more information. 


FIRST LOOKS 


Visualize Data 
With Ease 



flWB 


■ / 

iffy 

mSM 


Subscribers to real- 
time traffic reports in 
SkyMap 2000/GPS can 
get detailed reports of 
traffic jams in a metro- 
politan area (far left). 
Young travelers can 
have fun with the Kids’ 
GPS view in TripMaker 
Deluxe 2000. 


BY BARRY SIMON 

T ransforming rows and 
rows of data into eye- 
grabbing graphs and 
charts is no easy task for most of 
us. But Positive Support Re- 
view’s Zinnote 2000 ($995 list) 
puts all the tools in one place to 
make data reporting a snap. 

Zinnote imports data using an 
ODBC-based wizard that pro- 
vides built-in support for Ac- 
cess, dBASE, Excel, and Paradox 
data and support for any ODBC 
OLE connectors you have added. 
You can use an SQL query in 
which Zinnote encapsulates the 
complications of SQL in several 
drop-down lists. 

Once you have the data, you 
can display it using line, area, bar, 
box-whisker, bubble, contour, 
Pareto, pie, pyramid, scatter, and 
surface charts and graphs, 
among others. While displaying 
your data, you can open a data 
editor to view the related data. 

Using Zinnote, you can com- 
bine tables and charts into re- 
ports. Reports, charts, and data 
sets can be combined into work- 
spaces and projects that can be 
saved and updated. As the data 
changes on the back end, you 
can update the data source, and 
these changes are then reflected 
in charts and reports. 

Reports can be exported to 
HTML and Microsoft. In Word, 
charts are embedded as bitmaps, 
and tables are embedded as ed- 
itable Excel tables. HTML export 
places the charts as JPEG files. 

Our only complaint is that 
given its lack of analytical tools, 
the program seems high-priced. 
Nevertheless, Zinnote 2000 is a 
versatile, easy-to-use tool for 
generating data-intensive re- 
ports in Word or HTML. 

Zinnote 2000 

List price: $995; five-license pack, 
$2,795. Requires: 16MB RAM, 15MB 
hard disk space, Microsoft Windows 
98 or NT 4.0 or later. Positive Support 
Review Inc., Santa Monica, CA; 310- 
453-6100; www.zinnote.com. • • • • 


Hit the Road 
With Hi Tech 

BY BRUCE AND 
MARGE BROWN 

T wo new mapping soft- 
ware upgrades, Etak’s 
SkyMap 2000/GPS ($200 
street with the bundled GPS, $40 
for software only) and Rand Mc- 
Nally’s TripMaker Deluxe 2000 
($30 street after rebate), take ad- 
vantage of links to the Internet, 
GPS receivers, and PDAs to 
complement their excellent 
maps, route planning, and travel 
references. 

SkyMap 2000/GPS includes 
SkyMap 2000, a U.S. trip- 
planning and street-finder pro- 
gram, a 12-channel GPS receiver, 
and an earbud-style head- 
phone/microphone set. 

SkyMap 2000 offers solid 
map detail for creating routes, 
a street database for locating 
specific addresses, 1.4 million 
points of interest, and exit ser- 
vices information. But the 
process of selecting and in- 
stalling regional maps from 
SkyMap 2000’s 275-file library 
was not intuitive. 

The real-time traffic reports 
(30 days free, $60 street per 
year) are provided for 36 metro- 
politan areas via the Internet. 
We tested real-time traffic re- 
ports in Hartford, Connecticut, 
and New York City with good 
results. 

You can download map seg- 
ments to Palm devices. SkyMap 
2000/GPS is a better-than-ade- 


quate value for business and 
leisure travelers. 

SkyMap 2000/GPS 

Street price: $200. Requires: 32MB 
RAM; BOMB hard disk space; 2X CD- 
ROM drive or better; Microsoft Windows 
95 or 98. Etak Inc., Menlo Park, CA; 800- 
765-0555; www.etak.com. • • • • 

With its new RV Planner, Kids’ 
GPS view, and support for Palm 
devices, Rand McNally’s Trip- 
Maker Deluxe 2000 provides ex- 
ceptional road-trip support for 
the leisure traveler via a note- 
book connected to an NMEA- 
compliant GPS receiver. 

If your RV breaks down in un- 
familiar territory, the RV Plan- 
ner can pinpoint RV exit ser- 
vices. The new Kids’ GPS Planet 


BY EDWARD MENDELSON 

I f you have old documents 
and spreadsheets that you 
need to post on an intranet 
or Web site, nothing gets the job 
done faster than FastSite Release 
3 ($100 street). But choose this 
package only if you’re willing to 
sacrifice elegance for speed. 

FastSite can convert dozens of 
documents into HTML format 
and generate Web pages with hy- 
perlinked tables of contents in 
minutes. But the resulting pages 
won’t have a consistent look, and 
the only navigation tools avail- 
able on the converted pages are 
simple icons for the home page 
and the Next and Previous pages. 

FastSite’s wizard interface 
prompts you to choose a built-in 


Earth Navigator provides an- 
swers to the most commonly 
asked question heard from the 
back seat: ‘Are we there yet?” 

TripMaker Deluxe 2000 sup- 
ports downloads of maps, direc- 
tions, and information to Palm 
and Microsoft Windows CE 
devices. 

TripMaker Deluxe’s latest up- 
grade adds to its strengths: an 
exemplary map interface, per- 
sonalized itineraries, and 
Internet-based references. 

TripMaker Deluxe 2000 

Street price: After rebate, $30. 

Requires: 16MB RAM; 125MB hard 
disk space; Microsoft Windows 95, 

98, or NT 4.0 or later. Rand McNally, 
Skokie, IL; 800-671-5006; 
www.randmcnally.com. • • • • 


template design for the table of 
contents page, then lets you 
choose one or more files to con- 
vert into either HTML or Adobe 
Acrobat’s PDF format. One more 
click generates a Web site that 
can then be uploaded to a re- 
mote server. Use care when up- 
loading: If you hit the wrong 
button, the wizard deletes all ex- 
isting files on the server. 

FastSite makes quick sites 
from legacy documents, but for 
more power, move up to Info- 
Access’s HTML Transit. 

FastSite Release 3 

Street price: $100. Requires: 16MB RAM; 
10MB hard disk space; Microsoft Win- 
dows 95, 98, or NT 4.0. Lotus Develop- 
ment Corp., Cambridge, MA; 800-343- 
5414; www.lotus.com/fastsite. • • • 


Publish Web Pages Posthaste 


58 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 






FIRST LOOKS 




Adobe ActiveShare' 


A new addition to the PhotoDeluxe package, 
ActiveShare makes it easy to post your photos on 
a free Web site and share them with others. 


Bi* 6>; 


lighland’s 
ike Ranch 
-555-555-1212 


The Navigator window lets you view, 
zoom, and pan large documents. 


The One-Stop Graphics Shop 


BY JOHN McCORMICK 

F or the greatest versatility 
in a graphics package, it’s 
hard to imagine a better 
program than Deneba Soft- 
ware’s Canvas 7, which is actual- 
ly a complete suite of graphics 
tools combined with useful Web 
publishing features. 

Instead of trying to outdo 
other graphics programs such as 
Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photo- 
shop, or CorelDraw, Deneba has 
targeted the graphics generalist 
by integrating technical installa- 
tion, image editing, and page 
layout in a single package. 

The most important new fea- 
ture is SpriteEffects. When you 
are working only with paint 
(bitmapped) objects, this tool 
appears to be the usual special- 
effects feature that lets you blur, 
sharpen, or otherwise alter im- 
ages. But Canvas lets you apply 
the effects not only to bitmapped 
images but also to text and tech- 
nical (vector) drawings. Even 
better, after you have the page 
the way you want it, the original 
elements can still be edited. 

Though Canvas doesn’t rival 
complete desktop publishing 
programs, it does offer a power- 
ful set of features that will meet 
the needs of many businesses. 
For example, a wizard auto- 
mates the creation of multipage 
documents such as brochures or 
newsletters and includes ad- 
vanced features such as various 
ways to adjust text kerning. 

The technical-drawing fea- 
tures of Canvas have always 
been strong and remain so. The 
redesigned vector graphics en- 
gine, with new Bezier curve ca- 
pabilities, and the AutoCurve 
tool make it easy to generate 
smooth curves. The technical- 
drawing tools offer extreme pre- 
cision (to 0.5 microns) and 
drawing sizes up to 38 by 38 feet. 

If Canvas has a particular 
niche, it’s in fast Web page de- 
velopment and publishing. Most 
Web pages include text and 
graphics, and many designs use 
a combination of photographs, 


clip art, and even vector graph- 
ics. Only Canvas lets you edit 
and combine all these elements 
in a single editing environment. 


This offers several advantages. 
First, you can paint, draw, work 
with text, and apply special ef- 
fects without ever moving files 
between separate programs — a 
process that can be tricky when 
working with large graphics. 

Second, the only 
program you need to 
know is Canvas. 

FTP support is 
also included, so you 
can upload finished 
documents to the In- 
ternet. Not only can 
you export docu- 
ments directly to the 
Web, but Canvas 
comes with a graph- 
ics Web server that 
runs on any Win- 
dows NT server. 
Using Deneba In- 


PhotoDeluxe 
Updates 
Its Image 

BY SALLY WIENER GROTTA 

B ased on Adobe’s profes- 
sional image-editing soft- 
ware, Adobe PhotoDeluxe 
Home Edition 4.0 ($50 street; 
competitive upgrades, $40) is a 
fun program with a simple inter- 
face, new Web functionality, and 
online photo-sharing capabili- 
ties (via Adobe’s ActiveShare 
online service). PhotoDeluxe 
avoids confusing the user with 
too many options and instead 
provides step-by-step guidance 
and a collection of entertaining 
activities. Included in the box is 


the even easier-to-use Active- 
Share software, which is fully in- 
tegrated with PhotoDeluxe’s re- 
vamped photo albums. 

PhotoDeluxe’s primary com- 
petitors are MGI PhotoSuite III 
Platinum Edition and Microsoft 
Picture It! 2000 (First Looks, 
November 2, 1999). Corel has 
also released a minor update to 
its home image-editing pro- 
gram, now known as Corel Cus- 
tom Photo ($49.95 list). 

There are two different ways 
to work with PhotoDeluxe. The 
step-by-step activities walk you 
through the process of editing 
images and creating activities 
using them. The Advanced 
Menus button, designed for 
more experienced users, lets 
you directly access a full range 
of Photoshop-like commands. 


ternet Graphics Server, you can 
view Canvas pages with any 
browser, search for and down- 
load files, use thumbnail images, 
and even pan, zoom, and navi- 
gate through pages and drawing 
layers without plug-ins. 

Canvas is not the tool for 
most graphics professionals, nor 
does Deneba intend it for high- 
end users. But because it is so 
easy to learn and use, Canvas 7 is 
ideal for either SOHO settings or 
businesses that do occasional 
graphics work. 

Canvas 7 

List price: Full version, $375; download 
(without clip art and fonts), $129.95; 
competitive upgrade, $199.95. Re- 
quires: 32M RAM; 80MB hard disk 
space; Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 
2000, or NT. Mac version available. 
Deneba Software Inc., Miami; 800- 
622-6827; www.deneba.com. • • • • 


The new floating (undock- 
able) My Photos tool is far supe- 
rior to PhotoDeluxe’s previous 
Easy Photo Gallery cataloging. 
You can create your own albums, 
drag and drop photos into them, 
and search for images using key- 
words. Too bad PhotoDeluxe has 
no batch-processing capabilities. 

Uploading images to the 
password-protected ActiveShare 
.com, a free online community 
for sharing photos, is also an 
easy, drag-and-drop process. 
Though more limited than 
PhotoDeluxe, ActiveShare does 
support batch processing and for 
basic tasks, such as rotating an 
image, it can also be quicker. Be- 
cause the two programs’ albums 
are integrated, anything you edit 
in one is automatically updated 
in the other. 

PhotoDeluxe still has only 
one level of undo, and some 
functions require too many 
mouse clicks. But with Version 
4.0, PhotoDeluxe has raised the 
bar in novice photo editing. 

Adobe PhotoDeluxe 

Home Edition 4.0 

Street price: $50; competitive up- 
grade, $40. Requires: 32MB RAM 
(64MB for Windows NT); 100MB hard 
disk space; Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 
or NT 4.0 with Service Pack 3. Adobe 
Systems Inc., San Jose, CA; 800-888- 
6293; www.adobe.com. • • • • 


60 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 







FIRST LOOKS 


The Apple AirPort Finally Arrives 


BY LES FREED 

W hen Apple an- 
nounced the iBook 
computer last sum- 
mer, one of the big crowd 
pleasers was the Apple AirPort 
wireless networking system. 
Based on technology jointly 
developed with Lucent Tech- 
nologies, the AirPort is an IEEE 
8o2.nb-based wireless LAN that 
allows iBooks, newer iMacs, and 
G4~based desktops to communi- 
cate wirelessly at n Mbps. What 
got the crowd’s attention was the 
AirPort’s price: $299 list for the 
AirPort Base Station and $99 for 
the AirPort Card, or about a third 
the price of similar PC-based 
products. Well, the AirPort sys- 
tem is finally here. 

The AirPort Base Station is 
the heart of the AirPort system. 
The Base Station looks like a 
giant, slightly melted Hershey’s 
Kiss candy. The front sports a 
large Apple logo and three un- 
marked status LEDs; a recessed 
panel on the rear provides con- 
nections for power, Ethernet, 
and phone line connections. 

Like most 8o2.nb-based sta- 
tions, the AirPort provides a way 
for mobile wireless computers to 
communicate with other, wired 
devices on an Ethernet LAN. But 
the AirPort also includes a 56K 
V.90 modem, a NAT server (net- 
work address translation), and a 
DHCP server that work together 
to provide wireless client Macs 
with shared Internet connectivi- 
ty, either via a dial-up connection 
or via a router, DSL, or cable 
modem attached to the Ethernet 
port. Only one other product, 
Proxim’s Symphony wireless 
LAN, offers a similar feature. 

On the client side of the con- 
nection, the AirPort Card installs 
in any AirPort-compatible Mac. 
These computers come from the 
factory with an antenna built 
into the case, so no external an- 
tenna is required. Installation is a 
simple matter of sliding the Air- 
Port Card into its socket and at- 
taching the antenna cable. On 
the iBook, the AirPort socket is 


located beneath the keyboard. 

A supplied CD-ROM includes 
AirPort Assistant, which auto- 
matically walks the user through 


The RaQ 
Is Back 

BY GREG ALWANG 

F ollowing in the footsteps 
of the well-received RaQ_ 
and RaQ_2, the Cobalt RaQ 
3i, from Cobalt Networks, pro- 
vides reliability, performance, 
and simple Web-based adminis- 
tration in a rack-mountable In- 
ternet appliance. With a faster 
processor, L2 cache, more ex- 
pandability, and features like 
virtual hosting, bandwidth man- 
agement, and integrated securi- 
ty (SSL), the RaQji ($3,999 list as 
tested) is ideal for ISPs and ASPs 
(application service providers) 
hosting e-commerce and high- 
traffic sites. 

Running on an AMD K6/300 


the process of setting up both 
the AirPort Card and the Air- 
Port Base Station. We installed 
the AirPort Base Station and 


processor, our test unit came 
packed with 512MB RAM and a 
20GB hard disk. Ports include 
two io/iooBase-T, two serial, an 
Ultra-Wide SCSI, and a USB, as 
well as a PCI slot for expansion. 
The RaQ.3 starts at $1,749 list 
with 32MB RAM, an 8.4GB disk, 
one Ethernet port, and no exter- 
nal SCSI port or PCI slot. A two- 
line LCD has navigation buttons 
so that you can configure the IP 
address and shut down the unit. 
A customized Linux 2.2 and 
Apache 1.3.6 combination run 
the show, but you’d never know 
it thanks to Cobalt’s slick brows- 
er-based management interface. 

For setup, just plug the unit in 
and turn it on. The LCD prompts 
for the primary IP address, sub- 
net mask, and gateway address. 
You configure the services and 
create and manage virtual sites 
using your browser. 

Unlike Cobalt’s Qube 
server appliance, the 
RaQ_3i forgoes work- 
group features like NAT, 
DHCP, and cross-plat- 
form file sharing, focus- 
ing instead on such as- 
pects as performance 
and hosting features. In 
addition to e-mail, FTP, 
SNMP, telnet, and DNS 
services, the RaQsup- 
ports third-party add- 


added AirPort Cards to two 
iBooks in about 30 minutes total. 
The AirPort Base Station works 
with any type of Internet con- 
nection. We tested both dial-up 
and cable connections, and both 
worked flawlessly. We were able 
to carry our iBooks around the 
house with no dead spots or 
breaks in connectivity. 

The AirPort system has a 
range of about 150 feet and does 
not support multiple base sta- 
tions. Despite these limitations, 
the Apple AirPort is a simple, 
low-priced solution for the home, 
small office, and classroom. 

Apple AirPort 

List price: AirPort Base Station, $299 ; 
AirPort Card, $99. Apple Computer 
Inc., Cupertino, CA; 800-538-9696; 
www.apple.com. • • • • • 


ons for such features as e-com- 
merce, encryption, and stream- 
ing content. Support for CGI and 
Perl scripting, FrontPage 2000 
Server Extensions, and the Java 
Run-time Environment ensures 
compatibility with a variety of 
Web-based applications. 

The RaQ_3i allows virtual 
hosting by domain or IP, and 
sites can share IP addresses, so 
you can choose the method that 
suits your needs. Site adminis- 
trators can be assigned to each 
virtual entity for remote admin- 
istration. By delegating some ad- 
ministrative tasks to clients, ISPs 
can off-load some site manage- 
ment and get a return on their 
server investment more quickly. 

On e-commerce sites, you can 
enable SSL per virtual site or use 
the Secure POP protocol for au- 
thenticating e-mail. Reports let 
you monitor Web, mail, and FTP 
usage for the entire RaQor for 
each virtual site. 

The RaQ_ 3i was designed 
from the ground up with ISPs 
and ASPs in mind, and it shows 
in the compelling mix of fea- 
tures and the low price. 

Cobalt RaQ 3i 

List price: With 300-MHz AMD K6 
processor, 512MB RAM, 20GB hard 
disk, $3,999. Cobalt Networks Inc., 
Mountain View, CA; 888-702-6225; 
www.cobalt.com. • • • • • 




62 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 





mM&wM 

! ^! u }'£cK K b. 




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FIRST LOOKS: INSIDE PC LABS 



Take the 
Songs, 
Leave the 
CDs 

Ready to fill your 
portable MP3 player 
with Web music? PC 
Magazine Labs finds 
the best encoding 


rates for rock, jazz, 
and classical music. 



M PEG Audio Layer 3, 
better known as MP 3 , 
has created the port- 
able digital audio market, but 
managing your MP 3 music files 
is a bit more complicated than 
popping a CD into a stereo. 
There are decisions to make. 

PC Magazine Labs recently 
conducted listening tests to help 
you make the right tradeoffs be- 
tween file size and audio quality. 
With some basic understanding 
of digital audio, you can decide 
what encoding rate best suits the 
particular music you want to 
rip — MP 3 jargon for encoding 
files. The goal is to maximize the 
number of songs you can store in 
your MP 3 player with minimal 
compromises in music quality. 

MP 3 compresses near-CD- 
quality music to one-twelfth the 
size of the original CD audio data, 
but MP 3 players come with a 
finite amount of memory — either 
32MB or 64MB. MP 3 music can 
be encoded at various bit rates. 
Generally, the higher the bit rate, 
the better the audio quality and 
the larger the file size. 

MP 3 is a “lossy” compression 
scheme — meaning some quality 
is lost during compression. But 
MP 3 achieves perceptually “loss- 
less” compression through 
psychoacoustics. The compres- 
sion technique cuts out all the 
audio information that we can’t 
perceive or that isn’t needed. 

Dynamic range and sample 
rate are the two major factors 


that affect the quality of digital 
audio. As you lower the bit rate, 
you give up one or a little of both. 
A good dynamic range is re- 
quired to reproduce faint sounds 
accurately and not clip the loud 
parts. A high sample rate enables 
the accurate reproduction of the 
original recording across a wide 
range of instruments. 

Based on our listening tests, 
we found that a 128-Kbps MP 3 
clip (sampled at 44.1 kHz) is al- 
most impossible to distinguish 
from the music on CD. This is 
the bit rate you should use for 
classical music. If you prefer pop 
or contemporary vocals without 
high-pitched instruments, then 
the 64-Kbps encoding (typically 
sampled at 22.05 kHz) is likely to 
be just as good at preserving the 
dynamic range. And the lower 
bit rate produces files that are 
half the size. 

As an alternative to MP 3 , 
Microsoft’s Windows Media 
Format (WMF) 4.0 is designed to 
store twice as much music as 


MP 3 . Most players will soon sup- 
port WMF, which can encode at 
64 Kbps with the full 44.1-kHz 
sampling rate in stereo. 128-Kbps 
MP 3 files are typically encoded 
at 44 kHz stereo. They can also 
be encoded at 64 Kbps, but most 
MP 3 encoders sample at 22.05 
kHz, limiting the frequency 
range to n kHz. We found that 
Microsoft’s proprietary algo- 
rithms produce near-CD-quality 
music files at 64 Kbps, compared 
with the 128 Kbps required by 
MP 3 for such quality. 

To test Microsoft’s claim that 
its 64-Kbps encoding is a better 
way to go, we encoded three 
types of music (rock, jazz, and 
classical) with MP 3 at 128 Kbps 
stereo and WMF at 64 Kbps 
stereo (at 44.1-kHz sampling 
rates). Only WMF-encoded jazz 
(with a lot of cymbals) produced 
annoying artifacts. For the other 
clips, we found it difficult to dis- 
tinguish the MP 3 - and WMF- 
encoded files from the originals. 
— S. Jae Yang and Jay Munro 


CHOOSE A BIT RATE 

With a basic understanding of digital audio, you can decide what 
encoding rate suits the music you want to rip— MP3 jargon for encode. 


Encoding rate 

Quality 

Number of minutes stored in 32MB I 

16-bit WAV 

(44.1-kHz stereo) 

Identical to CD 

3 1 

128-Kbps MP3 

(44.1-kHz stereo) 

Nearly indistinguishable 
from CD 


64-Kbps WMF 

(44.1-kHz stereo) 

Near-CD quality; optimized 
for classical music 

66 ■■■■■■■■■■■ 

64-Kbps MP3 

(22.05-kHz stereo) 

Acceptable for music; 
stronger in bass than in treble 

66 ■■■■■■■■■■■ 


64 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8. 2000 






SONY 


Stick it: 



Your digital images. Your music. Your work. Your ideas. 

Stick them all on Sony Memory Stick™ media and watch them work together. The possibilities are endless. 
To find out more about Memory Stick media and how to stick your digital world together visit 

www.sony.com/ms 

MEMORY STICK 

MS Walkman® personal stereo requires MagicGate® Memory Stick™ media. 

©2000 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without wntten permission is prohibited. Sony. Memory Stick. Memory Stick Waikman. Magic Gate, and Stick It ire trademarks ot Sony Corporation. 

•• 








YOU’VE GOT TO SEE IT IN 


EPSON 


COLOR. 



Anyone can show you the flowers. But the textile company that created 
this catalogue cover wanted to show you more. Like the incredible 
fabrics worn by the 38 women you see here. Sheer enough to pass for 
petals. In a palette only nature could imagine. So what did they choose 
to capture all this color and detail? An Epson printer. The only one 
they could trust to separate the beauties from the blossoms. Which, 
when it comes to printers, is what separates the men from the boys. 


THE ONLY PRINTERS WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED EOR ALL THE DETAIL YOU WANT. 


To capture the world's most brilliant images, only Epson*’ color ink jet printers have the 
PerfectPicture" Imaging System for: 1440 x 720 dpi • Micro Piezo" technology, for a cleaner, 
smaller droplet - as small as 3 picoliters • Fast print speeds - up to 12 PPM black/10 PPM 
color • Quick-drying inks • PC/Mac/USB compatibility. And remember, only Epson supplies 
guarantee Epson quality. For more information, call 1-800-GO-EPSON orvisitwww.epson.com. 



Epson Stylus Color Ink Jet Printers. 
Sheer brilliance starting at $99* 


* $99 on the EPSON Stylus Color 660 after a $30 mail-in rebate. Up to 12 PPM black/10 PPM color with the EPSON Stylus Color 900. Price may vary. Epson, EPSON Stylus 
and Micro Piezo are trademarks/registered trademarks of Seiko Epson Corp. PerfectPicture is a registered trademark of Epson America, Inc. ©1999 Epson America, Inc. 






Cutting-Edge Performance Desktop 

New Intel* Pentium* III Processor 733MHz 

128MB SDRAM Memory, PC133 Ready 

27GB 7200rpm Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

19" Monitor w/Diamondtron NF CRT (18* vis, .25ag) 
New nVidia GeForce 256 AGP Graphics W/32MB, TV-out 
CD-Re writeable Drive 

US Robotics 56K V.90 Winmodem w/Telephony' 

8x M ax Variable Speed DVD -R OM Drive 

Au real Vortex2 PCI Sound, A 3 D 2.0 Technology 
Altec Lansing ADA-305 Dolby Pro Logic Speakers 
Micros oft Office 200 0 SBE 

$ 2499 

Business lease:$91/Mo., 36 Mos. 
ill. QUOTE NUMBER: pcm02s45 


Cutting-Edge Performance Desktop 

New Intel® Pentium® III Processor 600MHz-650MHz 
128MB High-Performance SDRAM Memory 

20GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

19" Monitor w/OSD (18* vis, .26dp) 

Intel 2D/3D Graphics Accelerator 

56K V.90 Internet Fax/Modem’ 

3rd Generation DVD-R OM D rive 

Aureal A3D Sound Technology 

3-Piece Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer 

Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 

Intel * AnyPoinr Home Network Kit, add $ 1 19 

$ 1499 

Starting at ■ 

Business lease starting at:$54/Mo., 36 Mos. 
£)-QUOTE NUMBER: pcm02m30 


All Quantex desktops include a 3.5” 1.44MB Floppy Drive, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, 
New ATX Mid-Tower Case, 2 USB Ports, 3-Year Limited Warranty & 24/7 Toll-Free Technical Support 


All Quantex notebooks include Smart Lithium Ion Battery, USB/Fast IR Ports, Personal Touchpad, 3-Year 
Limited Warranty on CPU & Memory, 1-Year Parts and Labor Limited Warranty on ail other components 


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rights in their entirety are contained in Quantex Microsystem’s Limited Warranty, a free copy of which may be obtained by writing Quantex at Quantex Microsystems, Inc., 400B Pierce st., Somerset 
NJ 08873 or calling (800) 346 6572. All desktop, notebook and server sales are subject to Quantex's limited warranty and terms and conditions of sale. Other peripherals such as printers, jovsticks, etc., are covered bv 
manufacturer s warranty. All prices and configurations are subject to change without notice or obligation and do not include shipping or sales tax. Quantex is not responsible for errors in typography and photography. Award-win- 







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044680 




Feedback 


“I think nVidia deserves 
a Technical Excellence Award 
for the GeForce chip ” 


TECHNICAL 

I THINK NVIDIA DESERVES A TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE 
AWARD for the GeForce chip. This is the first time we’ve 
seen a next-generation chip in a news conference and 
found it on store shelves a month later. Not only that — 
the GeForce actually delivers what it promises. Maybe 
Intel can learn a thing or two from the people at nVidia. 

KHALED AL ANANI 
Cairo, Egypt 

IN TWO INSTANCES, THE WINNER IN ONE CATEGORY should have 
been competing in another. MetaCreations’ 3-D Web tools won for 
best application, but they should have won for best Web application. 
The 3Com Palm V won for best design, but it should have won for 
best hand-held. This clearly indicates that Web apps and hand-held 
devices are the significant technologies of the year. 

MARTIN 
via the Internet 

WHERE THE HECK IS THE APPLE IBOOK? Where’s the logic in choos- 
ing the Palm V for best design this year? Consider this: The general 
design for the Palm device has been around for over a year, so I don’t 
understand how the design can be considered fresh and innovative. 
The design that is currently driving the boundaries outward is the 
iBook. 

RATTMAN 
via the Internet 

IN YOUR DECEMBER 14 COVER STORY “Technical Excellence 
Awards,” surely BeOS deserved mention. BeOS may have a small 
market and mind share, but any objective evaluation of BeOS 
would put it far ahead of other operating systems. BeOS was de- 
signed from the ground up to be the most advanced and well-de- 
signed OS on the planet. About the only technical criticism that can 
be leveled against BeOS is that it doesn’t yet have a Unix-style 
multiuser security model, which is supposed to be implemented in 
a coming release. 

All the other barriers to BeOS’s acceptance (drivers, applica- 
tions, and so on) are economic, not technical, and they are rapidly 
falling. BeOS is where Linux was two years ago, but unlike Linux, 


How to Contact Us 

We welcome your comments and suggestions. 

When sending e-mail to Letters, please state in the subject line of 
your message which article or column prompted your response. 

E-MAIL pcmag@zd.com 

MAIL Letters, PC Magazine, 28 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016-7930. 
All letters become the property of PC Magazine and are subject to editing. 
We regret that we cannot answer letters individually. 


BeOS is a highly polished, high-performance desktop 
OS that is a joy to use for novices and gurus alike. 

DAVID BRUCE 
via the Internet 

; I AGREE WITH YOUR ASSESSMENT OF GOOGLE as the 
best search engine. The way it sorts through millions of 
sites and usually finds the perfect one for me is amazing. I always try 
Google first when searching the Web. 

ANDREW QUINT 
Richmond, CA 

SMART PHONES 

YOUR DECEMBER 14 TRENDS ARTICLE “Calling the Web” (page 32) in- 
cludes some misleading information concerning the recent 
3Com/Nokia/Symbian announcement. The deal does not fore- 
shadow the Palm moving away from its current operating system; 
rather, the Palm OS interface and APIs will be ported to EPOC. 

Also, I am surprised that you didn’t mention the Wireless Appli- 
cations Protocol Forum ( www.wapforum.com ), an industry group 
that claims virtually all of the companies mentioned as members, 
along with a couple hundred more. WAP’s markup language for 
small wireless devices, WML, is available in devices from many 
sources, including the Motorola and NeoPoint phones you mention, 
and will soon be in many more. 

TOM BRIDGMAN 
via the Internet 

AN IMAC FOR EVERY BUDGET 

IN YOUR DECEMBER 14 ARTICLE “A PC for Every Budget,” it would 
have been nice to see more other Apple iMac models listed. Your 
Summary of Features table (page 172) shows a wide range of prices 
and speeds for all models but the iMac. A person unfamiliar with the 
Apple product line might easily assume that there’s only one iMac, 
for the price of $1,499, when in fact the new 350-MHz iMac ($999, 
with 64MB RAM and a 6GB hard disk) would be a good choice for 
someone on a tighter budget. 

Your largest complaint seems to deal with the iMac’s lack of ex- 
pansion options. I’ll be the first to admit that the iMac is as limited 
as you say in that regard, but my own experience has shown that 
computer users on a variety of platforms rarely upgrade. By the time 
an upgrade becomes necessary, the lower prices of newer and faster 
systems inspire people simply to buy new PCs. 

TOM LANFORD 
Fort Worth, Texas 

SAY NO TO SPAM 

IN YOUR DECEMBER 14 TRENDS ARTICLE on proposed Federal legis- 
lation banning spam (“Spam in the Crosshairs”), you didn’t mention 



FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 71 


Feedback 


another serious problem caused by junk e-mail — the negative effect 
spam has had on the growth of online commerce. Although I’ve 
been an Internet user for quite some time, I’ll just continue to say no 
to all online shopping sites, as long as I know that purchasing over 
the Internet can subject me to a barrage of advertising spam from 
the site I purchase from as well as from other sites that engage in 
renting, trading, or buying e-mail addresses. If either the Unsolicited 
Electronic Mail Act or the Can Spam Act ever makes it into law, I’ll 
start purchasing over the Web — but not sooner. 

TIM STONE 
via the Internet 

I AGREE WITH THE NOTION OF HAVING PENALTIES and some control 
over spammers. But this can be carried to the extremes by ISPs. I use 
one of the free ISPs and am quite happy with the service. Recently, 
someone figured out a way to send mass mailings using my ISP. 
When recipients complained, other ISPs blacklisted all e-mail from 
my ISP; all of my e-mail was returned undelivered. My ISP found the 
real culprit and corrected the problem, but my gripe here is that 
other ISPs didn’t block the spammer but all subscribers to my ISP. 
You wouldn’t drop an A-bomb on a city with a higher-than-average 
crime rate. Antispam efforts need to be handled with caution. 

RANDY ROLLER 
via the Internet 


SECOND LOOKS 

LIVING WITH THE PRODUCTS WE REVIEW 



MORE THAN 1 MILLION SERVICE 

One of the better-known Web-based applications is Visto.com, 
a virtual desktop. With more than a million customers, Visto 
.com underscores the potential behind Web-based applications. 


Ardent About ASPs 


FILLING THE APP GAP 

JOHN C. DVORAK IS RIGHT IN HIS COLUMN “The Killer App Gap” 
(December 14) about the lack of a momentous technological inno- 
vation that would spawn a new killer app. Perhaps the Palm revolu- 
tion is the closest thing. Dvorak, however, does not consider 
FireWire. I believe that the next killer app is going to be iMovie and 
its spinoffs, simply because FireWire has made this an entirely fea- 
sible application, given the speed of chips and relatively low cost of 
ATA storage. For the first time, anyone who owns a digital camcorder 
can edit home movies far more easily than was possible before 
FireWire. And almost everyone who owns a camcorder is going to 
want to do that at some time or another. 

GHIGO BERNI 
London, England 


WATCH YOUR BACK 

I’VE ALWAYS ENJOYED AND LEARNED FROM BILL MACHRONE’S col- 
umn. The one about personal firewall software (December 14) real- 
ly got to me. So much that, upon finishing the column, I immediate- 
ly tried to obtain one of the two firewall software programs he 
mentioned, AtGuard and BlacklCE Defender. I tried PC Connection, 
TigerDirect, CompUSA, Datavision and The Wiz — no luck. Could 
you be kind enough to give me the name of the company that pro- 
duces or distributes either product? Getting one of these would help 
reduce that about-to-be-hacked feeling. 

JOHN SPENCER 
via the Internet 

Thanks for your comments. AtGuard is developed and distributed by 
WRQ fwww.wrq.comj. BlacklCE Defender, which recently received a 
PC Magazine Technical Excellence Award (December 14), is a prod- 
uct of Network ICE Corp. fwww.networkice.com). — Ed. 

GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM (TRAY) 

IF BILL HOWARD WANTS TO TAME THOSE ANNOYING PROGRAMS he 
has eating up space in his system tray (“Progress? Not!”, December 14), 
he should try StartupCop 1.01, which I got from PC Magazine's Web site 


BY JOHN MORRIS 

U nlike gun control, 

Internet-based appli- 
cations aren’t life-or- 
death issues. But judging from 
our readers’ comments, the 
thought of forfeiting software 
applications sparks about the 
same level of controversy as 
giving up guns does among the 
general population. 

Over the past few months, 
PC Magazine has devoted 
much attention to the growing 
phenomenon of Web-based 
applications. Our coverage has 
included new services for 
businesses, known as ASPs 
(application service pro- 
viders), that help small and 
medium-size businesses tackle 
chores such as payroll and 
accounting, human resources, 
ERP, and expenses manage- 
ment (“Send Out for Soft- 
ware,” November 2, 1999). And 
we’ve also reviewed services 
for end users such as virtual 
desktops or Webtops (First 
Looks, November 16), Internet 
file storage (First Looks, De- 
cember 1), and online calen- 
dars such as AnyDay.com. 

Despite all the hype over 
these services, most readers 
feel that there are many obsta- 
cles to overcome before end 


users will be trading in their 
word processors, spreadsheets, 
PIMs, and other applications for 
Web-based substitutes. Chief 
problems include the speed of 
Internet connections, security, 
and the features provided by 
Web-based applications. 

In business, however, the 
ASPs hold more immediate 
promise, according to readers. 
This is especially true of small- 
er organizations that can’t 
afford to deploy enterprise 
applications such as ERP or 
sales force automation on their 
own. The list of ASPs vying to 
provide applications to these 
small and medium-size busi- 
nesses seems to be growing on 
a daily basis. 

Perhaps the most obvious 
sign that Web-based applica- 
tions are gathering momentum 
is the development of online 
versions of applications we use 
every day. 

Microsoft recently an- 
nounced an online version of 
Office. And Sun Microsystems 
is putting finishing touches on 
its own Web-based productivi- 
ty suite (acquired from Star- 
Office). With heavyweights 
such as these lining up behind 
the concept, Web-based appli- 
cations are surely here to stay. 


72 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 




COMPUTERS ENLIGHTENED. 


NO HOCUS-POCUS REQUIRED. 


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With the millions of computer products out there, 
finding and getting the ones you need could lead 
to acts of desperation. Don’t give in. 

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REPAIR YOUR PC ONLINE 

Got trouble? McAfee.com automatically diagnoses 
then repairs software and hardware problems. 

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Feedback 


( www.zdnet.com/downloads ). You just shut down programs from the 
system tray until you find out which is eating up your system resources. 

TERRY COLEY 
via the Internet 

THE WEB HOST WITH THE MOST 

A WEB HOSTING SERVICE NOT MENTIONED in your excellent Decem- 
ber i article “Web Hosting” is the Miami-based Web Hosting Head- 
quarters ( www.whhq.net ). After trying other services covered in the 
article, I was led to WHHQ_by a friend. I was very impressed with the 
knowledgeable and helpful staff, who had my site running in a short 
time. The prices are very competitive, to say the least, and the con- 
nections are extremely fast. In addition, thanks to WHHQ_’s clever way 
of indexing, my site consistently showed up on search engines at the 
top. This feature is particularly invaluable for businesses competing 
on the crowded Web. I have been very impressed by the number of 
visitors to my site, which resulted in a sharp, almost instant increase 
in revenues. WHHQjs a great place for small businesses with little or 
no expertise for building an eye-catching Web site on their own. 

G. MUENS 
via the Internet 

UNPARTITION YOUR HARD DISK 

YOUR DECEMBER i SOLUTIONS COLUMN on unpartitioning your hard 
disk was a godsend! When I bought my Dell PC a year and a half ago, 
it had a 4.8GB hard disk. Because it was running Windows 95 at the 
time, it had been partitioned into C:, D:, and E: drives. I hated having 
my hard disk divided like this, but I was terrified to change it when 
I upgraded to Windows 98 for fear that I would really screw things 
up. After reading your column, however, I decided to go ahead, and 
I couldn’t believe how easy it was! Thank you. 

LINDA LYONS 
via the Internet 

ALTHOUGH YOUR COLUMN ON DISK PARTITIONING did mention a 
few reasons why multiple partitions are better, you missed two 
major ones: defragging and using ScanDisk on a drive. With a single 
partition, every time there is a write to the disk (such as background 
loggers or the swap file), defrag and ScanDisk must stop and restart 
all over again. This is quite annoying. So I have a number of parti- 
tions — two for applications; one for the swap file, cache, loggers, and 
so on; and another two for data. Defragging and ScanDisk run much 
more quickly, and my hard disk is well organized. 

ADHITYA CHITTUR 
via the Internet 


Corrections and Amplifications 

■ In our October 19 story "The Virtual Office" (page 154), we incorrectly stated that 
Instinctive Technology’s eRoom 4.0 can't enforce routing rules. In addition, the service’s 
search function is called Search. 

■ In our November 16 story "Readers Rate the Web" (page 126), AOL and Lycos actually re- 
ceived average and significantly worse-than-average scores for personalization, respectively. 

■ In our December 1 cover story "Fast PCs" (page 164), the price Tangent Computer 
quoted for its Medallion was incorrect. With the 19-inch monitor, the correct price is 
$2,195 direct. Also, Micron has reported to us that because of “a natural disaster in 
Taiwan," its Millennia Max Pill 733/133 (page 104)— an Editors’ Choice— will now cost 
$100 more than when we reviewed it, or around $2,800. 

■ In our December 14 review of the Micron Millennia Max 533, in the story “A PC for 
Every Budget” (page 168), we listed the wrong graphics accelerator and speakers in the 
configuration. Readers who tried to configure the system accordingly came up with a 
price much higher than the $1,584 we indicated. The configuration we tested (and 
awarded Editors’ Choice) had a 16MB nVidia RIVA TNT2-based graphics card (not the 
pricier 32MB upgrade) and three-piece Altec Lansing speakers (not the flat-panel 
Sonigistix Monsoon option). 


SECOND LOOKS 


Tell US what you think.... How do you like the new products 
you're using? Second Looks is your forum for feedback. Join us online to 
tell us about your experiences. We discuss a different new product each 
week and summarize your comments here. Here’s a sampling of some of 
the comments from our online discussion of Web-based applications. 
www.secondlooks.com 

Until everyone has a lightning-fast and dependable Web 
hookup, ASPs, make no sense, in my view. Can you imagine hav- 
ing an important presentation due in the morning and having to 
wait on Net congestion? —BRUCE 

Bad, bad idea. Even with a T1 line, the Web is way too 

slow to run applications, especially graphics applications. 

Speed, security, reliability. You can’t get any of these over the 
Web. Whom are these so-called ASPs trying to fool? —NICK 

The ASP platform certainly has an uphill battle. Server- 
based computing is a proven way to save money in the enter- 
prise, but can it easily be extended to the Web? I see the best 
market for this industry is with start-up companies. An ASP can 
provide application service in a day or two. A start-up would 
take longer to deploy an application service, and the process 
would require a greater cash outlay in equipment and personnel. 
ASPs let start-ups focus on getting down to business. —BRIAN 

If would be insane to risk your data on a faraway server 
that has no allegiance to your business and little or no account- 
ability to you as a business owner. The same can be said for 
home users who need to write only a few letters or balance 
their checkbooks. These users don’t need some server snoop 
reading those letters or prying into their finances. There is no 
reason for anyone to rely on Web-based applications. —JOHN 

Who said that ASPs had to be Web-based? I agree that 
Web-based ASPs aren’t the greatest idea, as the security and 
bandwidth just aren’t there. Time will tell. On the other hand, 
any manager with half a brain would realize the advantages of 
thin-client technology, which is readily available and already 
being deployed. This technology can be implemented without 
new hardware. Bandwidth is not much of an issue here, because 
very little information is actually sent back and forth, only text 
and changes on the desktop. Also, thin-client technology shares 
the same software cost benefits as Web-based ASPs. —CHRIS 

Almost everyone seems to think of ASPs in terms of a 
home PC with a modem dial-up connection. Has anyone ever 
worked in a data entry position (HR, payroll, shipping and 
receiving, and so on)? Has anyone ever used sales force automa- 
tion software? These apps are the ones that are being offered 
by the ASPs and will be a boon for small companies. The bene- 
fits of outsourcing e-mail, ERP, and CRM are no-brainers. As for 
all the concerns about security and reliability, guess what: Your 
PC is neither secure nor reliable. This idea that a company’s 
data is safer if it is under its own roof is simply a paradigm that 
must shift for us to move forward in the information age. — M. 

All the ASP naysayers will eat their words, just like peo- 
ple who said the earth was flat. Issues of security, reliability, 
bandwidth, and functionality are all being addressed. And the 
benefits far outweigh these issues, anyway. The integration of 
disparate information that exists on individual PCs within corpo- 
rations will start a revolution. When management can really see 
how effective its business processes are, companies will rush to 
embrace this new software model. —FRED 


76 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


Pipeline 


DISPATCHES FROM THE WORLD OF COMPUTING 



Enter the Third 
Dimension 


This 3-D display technology isn’t simulated; it’s real. 

T ucked inside a nondescript building in Manhattan’s Silicon 
Alley, a group of engineers is thinking outside the box. 
Literally. Dimensional Media Associates (DMA) is working 
on a 3-D display. No big deal, except that viewers don’t 
have to wear geeky glasses or goggles. 

The technology may enable employees to teleconference in 
3-D, consumers to “touch” goods for sale on the Web, and medical 
researchers to visualize protein-folding models. 

A visit to DMA’s research lab isn’t for the faint of heart. Walk inside 
and you hear an amplified heartbeat. The heart — actually a high- 
resolution, 3-D image of it— is suspended a few inches in front of one 
of the prototype display stations. Aset of surgeons’ calipers attached 
to a force-feedback contraption is nearby. A tug on one of the vessels 
pulls the heart slightly, and you feel the twitch of the muscle in 
response. (A “stiffness” parameter is built into the software.) 

Alan Sullivan, chief science officer at DMA, is overflowing with 
enthusiasm about the potential of the Multiplanar Volumetric Dis- 
play that his team is developing. The initial applications are for 
medical imaging, automobile manufacturing, and other high-end 
applications, but Sullivan says that prototypes of 3-D displays will 
be on desktops in six months. 

Among more mainstream applications, a 3-D display could 
assist financial analysts in visualizing trends based on enormous 
amounts of data, and computer games could take on a whole new 
dimension. But once 3-D hits the Internet, the fun really begins. 
Web retailers could let you outfit a model with clothing you’re 
interested in buying and you’d get the full effect, not a flat simula- 
tion on your monitor’s screen. Although graphics cards today > 



MORE ON THE WEB: « DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY DEVELOPS 
ONLINE m TRENDS IN HIGH-TECH HIRING ■ PLUS: EXPANDED VER- 
SIONS OF THE STORIES IN THIS SECTION www.pcmag.com/pipeline 


The Gigahertz Goal 



THE RACE IS ON TO DELIVER 
systems based on processors run- 
ning at 1 GHz. AMD and Intel are 
both aiming to deliver these sys- 
tems by the end of this year, after 
playing a fierce game of clock- 
speed leapfrog for most of 1999. 

AMD recently announced its 
new 750-MHz Athlon processor, 
based on an 0.18-micron manu- 
facturing process. The chip’s 
clock speed surpasses those of 
several new Intel Pentium III 
chips based on Intel’s Copper- 
mine 0.18-micron manu- 
facturing process. 

AMD and Intel 
are readying 
800-MHz 
Athlon and Pen- 
tium III chips, 
respectively, 
with shipment 
expected in the 
first quarter of this 
year. Clock speeds 
up to 933 MHz are 
expected after that, 
with the 1,000-MHz (1GHz) 
mark seen as viable by the end 
of the year. 

In addition to the speed boost 
1-GHz systems will bring, the 
rapid ramp-up to the clock-speed 
milestone is also expected to 
drive the prices of chips in the 
750-MHz to 800-MHz range 
down significantly by the end 
of 2000. This year’s low-cost 
holiday systems may well feature 


800-MHz processors. 

Getting to 1 GHz will not be 
free of challenges. Among other 
issues, systems based on 1-GHz 
chips are expected to generate a 
lot of heat. A small spin-off 
company of NCR, called Kry- 
otech, is already pursuing a 
highly unusual strategy for cool- 
ing the very first 1-GHz systems. 
The company is selling a system 
based on an AMD Athlon proces- 
sor already running at 1 GHz. 

The chip is kept cool by being 


frozen at tempera- 
tures 40 degrees below zero in a 
built-in refrigeration unit. Sys- 
Tech has a similar system. 

If that sounds a little worri- 
some from a reliability stand- 
point, note that AMD is backing 
the 1-GHz chip with a warranty. 
Kryotech backs its systems with 
warranties as well. As interesting 
as Kryotech's solution may be, 
look for unrefigerated 1-GHz 
machines later this year. 


Who’s Buying the Big-Ticket 
Items on the Web? 


Among Web sites that market to other businesses (B-to-B sites), the 
median transaction size is more than three times as large as at sites 
that cater to consumers (B-to-C). 


1 TRANSACTION AMOUNT 

B-TO-B 

B-TO-C 

■ cn 

HI a? 

$1 to $50 

5% 

22% 

3 

$51 to $100 

5% 

15% 

1 

$101 to $500 

36% 

26% 

l 

$501 to $1,000 

5% 

10% 

t5 

$1,001 to $10,000 

41% 

20% 

t> 

Over $10,000 

8% 

8% 

mm* 

CJ 

o 

Median 

$800 

$244 

tn 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 77 





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Pipeline 


Top 

E-Commerce 

Gainers 


VitaminShoppe.com (337%) 
Toysrus.com (220%) 



Cheaptickets.com (78%) 



Netzip.com (43%) 


10 . 


CDNow.com (35%) 

Source: Media Metrix. Percentages indicate the 
increase in average daily unique visitors of the 
weekending Nov. 14, 1999 over the average of the 
previous three weeks’ daily unique visitors. 


Third Dimension Continued 

have 3-D features, the 3-D data is squeezed onto a two-dimensional 
surface. The effect is merely simulated 3-D. DMA has figured out 
how to liberate the 3-D data so images don’t just seem to float in 
space, but actually float in space. 

DMA has kept a low profile so far and isn’t divulging details about 
its technology, because patents are pending. According to Sullivan, 
the Multiplanar Volumetric Display uses not 1 plane of image data — 
as conventional displays do— but 12 planes, each depicting a differ- 
ent depth. The end result is essentially a stack of images floating 
either a few inches in front of the display or inside the display, as if 
you were watching fish inside an aquarium. The display uses mir- 
rors and beam splitters to collect, focus, and project light in space 
to form volumetric images. Since the images have volume, they’re 
measured in voxels — volume picture elements— rather than pixels. 

Having started out as an R & D lab producing advanced visual- 
ization systems for the government, the company is now striking 
out into commercial territory. Its installations of “animatronic” 
3-D displays project 3-D images of a product — a Kirin beer bottle, 
an Adidas sneaker, a diamond watch — into thin air. 

DMA is currently working with Silicon Graphics to develop a desk- 
top display. The cost, says Sullivan, would be a few thousand dollars. 
Future prototypes will offer 24-bit color and have five times as 
many voxels, says Sullivan. His most far-reaching goal is the com- 
plete reinvention of the user interface. Instead of moving files with 
a mouse, you would actually pick them up to move them. 


Busting Net 
No-Goodniks 

FROM SCAMS AT AUCTION SITES 
to e-mail schemes and credit 
card frauds, con artists are 
growing along with the Web. 
Worse, consumers are less con- 
cerned about online security 
than ever before, according to 
recent market research from 
Yankee Group. 

Several Web sites now track 
and publicize Internet scams, 
give advice to consumers, and 
take complaints. Among them 
are Consumer.Net (www 
. consumer.net ), Internet Fraud 
Watch ( www.fraud.org ), 
and Scambusters (www 
. scambusters.org ). 






Shop by Color 

T he red sweater at the online store 
catches your eye, so you spring 
for it. It arrives at your front door 
a few days later, but to your dis- 
may, it turns out to be orange. Back it goes. 

The same thing happens when you buy an 
upholstered chair. You wanted green, but 
not that green. Back it goes. 

The convenience of buying clothing 
and furniture over the Web can quickly 
turn into a big hassle for shoppers — and 
merchants— when on-screen colors don’t 
match real-life colors. Accurately depict- 
ing colors on the Web is no easy job, espe- 
cially because every graphics card and 
monitor has its own ideas about color. 

Two companies have set out to solve the color confusion. The 
Pantone Textile Color System and Matching System are currently 
used by the fashion and home furnishing industries. The compa- 
ny’s approach to Web color leverages this existing infrastructure. 
Web sites can identify a garment’s color by the same Pantone num- 
ber used by the manufacturer and then display a color swatch. The 
company plans to distribute its Pantone Color Fan so consumers 
can see what the online color actually looks like. 

E-Color’s True Internet Color technology is designed to calibrate 
colors to individual monitors. The software is loaded on a Web site’s 
server, which delivers color-corrected images to visitors who have 
gone through a four-step color-calibration procedure. E-Color has 
signed up Bloomingdale’s and J.Crew to launch the technology. 


MISMATCHED: 

E-Color’s True Internet 
Color technology 
corrects the distorted 
color (left) and displays 
the actual color (right). 


This issue’s contibutors: Carol Levin, Sharon Nash, and Sebastian Rupley. 


1 Quadrillion 
Ops per Second 

IBM IS ENGINEERING THE OFFSPRING 
of its Deep Blue supercomput- 
er— the one that beat world 
chess champion Garry Kasparov 
back in 1997. Nicknamed Blue 
Gene, the 2,000-square-foot 
system is designed to be 1,000 
times as powerful as Deep Blue. 
But the challenge this time isn’t 
chess; it’s biology. 

Capable of 1 quadrillion oper- 
ations per second (one peta- 
flop) — a thousand times as fast 
as Deep Blue— Blue Gene will be 
used to model the folding of 
human proteins, a key factor in 
helping medical researchers 
understand diseases and devel- 
op customized pharmaceuticals. 

The experimental architec- 
ture, dubbed SMASH (which 
stands for Simple, Many, And 
Self-Healing), is designed to 
reduce the number of instruc- 
tions each processor carries out 
so that each one can work 
faster. The blueprint also calls 
for a massively parallel system 
that can handle 8 million simul- 
taneous threads of computa- 
tion as well as self-healing 
abilities for automatically over- 
coming failures. 


HIGH-END DESKTOP PC 


1 

processor 

500,000,000 

operations per second 

1 

computation thread (hardware) 

2 square feet 

size 


DEEP BLUE 


500 

processors 

1,000,000,000,000 

operations per second 

500 

computation threads (hardware) 

10 square feet 

size 


BLUE GENE 


1,000,000 

processors 

1 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000,000 

operations per second 

8,000,000 

computation threads (hardware) 

2,000 square feet 

size 


80 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


Source: IBM. 






Nothing unites a family like love, understanding, and a Dell 5 * Home Networking Solution. Which is why 
we offer you two to choose from. Use your existing phone lines to connect your NEW Dell Dimension® 
desktop to your current PCs — - or go wireless. All of your home PCs can share the same Internet 
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Networking Solutions. One more benefit of the Dell4me SM total ownership experience. A complete 
resource for products and services that make it easy for you to get the most out of technology. 


DELL4me 


YOUR THOUGHTS EXACTLY. 


DELL* DIMENSION® xpstsoo 

Togetherness Starts Here 

■ Intel* Pentium* III Processor at 500MHz ■ 64MB SDRAM at 100MHz ■ 6.4GB 1 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEW 17“ (16.0" vis, .28dp) E770 Monitor ■ NEW 32MB NVIDIA TNT2 M64 AGP Graphics 

■ 8X Max’ 3 Variable DVD-ROM Drive with FREE $20 DVD Movie Offer 37 

■ Yamaha XG 64V Wavetable Sound ■ harman/kardon HK-195 Speakers 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI Telephony Modem for Windows 

■ /V£W3Com® HomeConnect’“ 10MB Phoneline PCI NIC' 4 

■ Microsoft* Works Suite 2000 with Money 2000 Basic ■ Microsoft* Windows* 98, Second Edition 

■ 1-Year Dellnet'" Internet Access” Service with 20MB of Online Backup 15 ■ 3-Year Limited Warranty 3 

■ 1-Year At-Home Service 3 ■ NEWDeW * Home Networking Kit 44 ■ HP* 610CL Printer with Cable 




i n . 

i 

pentium®/// 


$ 1699 mp 


As low as $46/Mo.,for 48 Mos.” 
VAIUE CODE: 04245-5001 16h 


The Dell® Home Networking Kit 44 in the system above allows you to connect 
your existing PC to your new Dimension* system. Complete with hardware, 
software, a setup video, and even multiplayer trial games, this kit makes 
networking simple. To connect more computers, additional Dell Home 
Networking Kits are available for just $69. 


1.800.243.2692 


MON-SUN: 7A-IIPCT 


BE DIRECT” 

DOLL 

www.dell4me.com 


^Monthly payments based on sales price depicted for 48-mo. term at 13.99% APR. NOT ALL BUYERS WILL QUALIFY FOR THIS 
APR. APR for qualified customers varies by creditworthiness of customer as determined by Dell Financial Services L.P. 
Payments exclude taxes and shipping charges that vary. Taxes & shipping charges due with 1st payment unless included in 
the amount financed, in which case your monthly payment will be higher. Purchase Plan offered through Dell Financial 
Services L.P., 14050 Summit Dr., Austin, TX 78728, to U.S. state residents (including D.C.) with approved credit, excluding AR 
and MN residents. Availability may be limited or offer may vary in other states. 



THE LATEST of THE LATEST 
from DELL. 


inspiron™ Notebooks include: 

■ McAfee VirusScan 4.02 ■ Microsoft® Windows* 98, Second Edition 

■ NEW Microsoft® Works Suite 2000 with Money 2000 Standard 

■ Lithium Ion Battery ■ NEW i-Learn My Dell® PC ■ 3- Year Limited Warranty" 

■ MusicMatch® Jukebox Standard™ 


INSPIRON 


7500 Notebook 

Mobile Desktop 

■ MEWIntel* Pentium* III Processor at 500MHz 

■ 15" XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ 64MB 100MHz SDRAM ■ NEW 6.0GB 1 Ultra ATA Hard Drive (75GB Max 42 ) 

■ Removable Combo 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM and Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility™-P 3D Video 

■ 3D Positional Sound with Wavetable 

■ Internal PCI 56K Capable” V.90 Fax Modem 

■ Dellnet SM 1-Year Internet Access Service’ 4 with 20MB of Online Backup 15 


QT O O Qj Q . As low as $79/Mo.,for 48 Mos. M 
O 7 7 E-VALUE CODE: 04249-800128 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ NEW 12GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Microsoft* Office 2000 Small Business plus Encarta 

■ A/EWQuicken® 2000 PowerPack 

Add $339 E-VALUE CODE: 04249-800132h 


DELL® INSPIRON M 3700 Notebook 
Light Weight, Light Price 

■ Intel® Celeron™ Processor at 433MHz 

■ 12.1" SVGA Active Matrix Display ■ 32MB SDRAM 

■ 4.8GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Modular 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility™-M1 3D Video 

■ 3D Positional Sound with Wavetable 


DELL® INSPIRON ™ 7500 Notebook 
Mobile Desktop 

■ NEW Intel* Pentium ' III Processor at 500MHz 

■ NEW 1 5 4" SXGA TFT Active Matrix Display 

■ 128MB 100MHz SDRAM ■ NEW 12GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive (75GB Max 42 ) 

■ NEW Removable Combo 32X Max 4 ® Variable CD-ROM and Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility ™-P 3D Video 
* 3D Positional Sound with Wavetable 

■ Internal PCI 56K Capable” V.90 Fax Modem 


OT / Cj Cj As low as $46/Mo.,for48 Mos. w 

<4> # * 7 E-VALUE CODE: 04249-800116 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ Upgrade to 14.1" XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ NEW 6.0GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Removable 6X Max 43 Variable DVD-ROM Drive (Customer Installed) 
Add $449 E-VALUE CODE: 04249-8001 21 h 


AO j&l As tow a s $97/Mo.,for 48 Mos* 
f VVT 7 E-VALUE CODE: 04249-800135 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ Inspiron™ 7500 Advanced Port Replicator (includes 10/100 NIC Card) 
* NEW HASBRO* Interactive Family Gaming 5-Pack 72 

■ harman/kardon Speakers 

Add $379 E -VALUE CODE: 04249-800 139a 


LATE BREAKING NEWS 


HIGH SPEED INTERNET ACCESS: Interested in high speed Internet 
access? Thinking about a cable modem or DSL? Before you do anything, check 
out our solutions at www.dell4me.com/broadband. 

WIRE LESS NETWORKING: Get the latest information on Home 
Networking Solutions by visiting www.dell4me.com/homenetworking. 

RDRAM: To test drive our NEW Dimension* XBS B733r with RDRAM memory, 
a 133MHz bus, ATA-66 hard drive access, 4X AGP graphics and a 733MHz 
processor, stop by www.dell4me.com/btour. 

15.4 " NOTEBOOK: Take a virtual tour of our newest Inspiron™ notebooks, 
featuring Intel® Pentium* III processors, a 15.4" screen, and MegaBay™. 

Visit www.dell4me.com/7500tour. 


“Monthly payments based on sales price depicted for 48-mo. term at 13.99% APR. NOT ALL BUYERS WILL QUALIFY FOR 
THIS APR. APR for qualified customers varies by creditworthiness of customer as determined by Dell Financial Services 
L.P. Payments exclude taxes and shipping charges that vary. Taxes & shipping charges due with 1st payment unless 
included in the amount financed, in which case your monthly payment will be higher. Purchase Plan offered through Dell 
Financial Services L.P, 14050 Summit Dr., Austin, TX 78728, to U.S. state residents (including D.C.) with approved credit, 
excluding AR and MN residents. Availability may be limited or offer may vary in other states. 

Pricing not discountable. Prices and specifications valid in U.S. only and subject to change without notice. Tor a complete copy of Guarantees or Limited Warranties, 
write Dell USA L.P., Attn: Warranties, One Dell Way, Round Rock, TX 78682. 3 At-home or on-site service provided via service contract between customer and third- 
party provider, and is not available in certain remote areas. Technician dispatched if necessary following phone-based troubleshooting with technical support 
personnel. Other conditions apply. Tor hard drives, GB means 1 billion bytes; total accessible capacity varies depending on operating environment. 7 10X Min. ’20X Min. 
,C 2.5X Min. "Download speeds limited to 53Kbps. Upload speeds are less (in the 30Kbps range) and vary by modem manufacturer. Speeds also vary depending 


Pentium®.., 




y<y/6 O 

WisSmi lt* is" 


NEW DELL® DIMENSION * XPS B733r Desktop 
Cutting Edge Technology 

■ Intel* Pentium® III Processor at 733MHz ■ 128MB ECC PC700 RDRAM at 356MHz 

■ 27.3GB 1 Ultra ATA Hard Drive ■ 17" (16.0" vis, .24 -.25 AG) P780 FD Trinitron® Monitor 
• NEW 32MB NVIDIA geFORCE 4X AGP Graphics Card 

■ 8X Max 10 Variable DVD-ROM Drive with FREE $20 DVD Movie Offer 37 

■ NEWSB Live! Value Digital with MusicMatch* Jukebox Enhanced 39 

■ NEW Harman Kardon HK-595 Surround Sound Speakers with Subwoofer 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI Telephony Modem for Windows 

■ 1-Year Dellnet SM Internet Access 14 Service with 20MB of Online Backup 16 


$ 2899 » 


As low as $79/Mo.,for 48 Mos. 3> 
E'VALUE CODE: 04249-500128 


Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 19" (17.9" vis) P991 FD Trinitron" Monitor 

■ 8X Max 10 Variable DVD-ROM Drive and Decoder Card with TV Out 

■ NEW Altec Lansing THX Certified ADA-885 Dolby Digital Speakers with Subwoofer 
Add $319 E 'VALUE CODE: 04249-500132s 


DELL4me 


The DelUme total ownership experience; a 
complete resource for products and services 
that make it easy for you to get the most out 
of technology. 


SOFTWARE: Dell® offers a variety of software multipacks designed for work, 
education or play. ■ Family Fun 5-Pack 22 , featuring Star Wars - Rogue Squadron, $99 

■ Quicken Power 3-Pack 22 , $89 ■ Choose from one of four Education Packs 22 , $79 

PRINTERS: Dell simplifies your life and ensures compatibility by pre-installing drivers 
for select printers 35 on your NEW Dell PC. Just turn it on, attach the printer cable, it just 
takes seconds." HP 895 Printer, $299 ■ Other brands and models available, starting at $149 

CAMERAS AND SCANNERS: Dell offers you the tools you need to take 
pictures and archive images on your hard drive instead of in a shoebox. Send pictures and 
video to friends and family via e-mail. ■ Epson 610u Scanner, $149 ■ Intel® PC Camera 
ProPack, $129 ■ Fuji MX1200, $299 

SERVICE AND SUPPORT: Dell offers you the help you need when you need it, 
via phone or online. ■ 24x7 phone and online tech support ■ Dimension Premier 
3-Year At-Home Service 3 , add $99 ■ Inspiron 3-Year On-site Service 3 , add $99 

■ Support.dell.com for innovative online support tools 

INTERNET ACCESS AND SERVICES: Dell offers you access to the Internet 
as well as online services and resources designed to help you make the most of your 
PC. ■ Dellnet SM Internet Access” with 20MB of Online Backup 15 ■ Simple drag and drop 
website creation tool with 12MB homepage storage space ■ Over $350 worth of special 
offers for Dell customers with popular online retailers 

PAYMENT SOLUTIONS: Dell offers several payment options designed to 
fit a wide range of customer needs. ■ Dell Platinum Visa® Card ■ Dell Purchase Plan 33 

■ Dell E-Check (automatic checking withdrawal) 

SPECIAL OFFERS: Learn about the latest discounts and promotions at 
www.dell4me.com 


Dimension® Desktop Systems include: 

■ NEW Microsoft 5 Works Suite 2000 with Money 2000 Basic 

■ McAfee VirusScan 4.02 ■ Microsoft® Windows® 98, Second Edition 

■ Keyboard ■ Mouse » 3-Year Limited Warranty 3 

■ 1-Year At-Home Service 3 ■ 3.5" Floppy Drive 

NEW DELL® DIMENSION® XPS B600r Desktop 
Cutting Edge Technology 

■ Intel® Pentium* III Processor at 600EB MHz 

■ 128MB ECC PC700 RDRAM at 356MHz ■ 27.3GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEWM" (16.0° vis, .26dp) M780 Monitor 

■ 32MB NVIDIA TNT2 "Ultra" 4X AGP Graphics 

■ 48X Max 8 Variable CD-ROM Drive 

■ Turtle Beach Montego* II A3D’ M 320V Sound Card with 
MusicMatch* Jukebox Standard 38 

■ Altec Lansing ACS-340 Speakers with Subwoofer 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI Telephony Modem for Windows 

■ 1-Year Dellnet SM Internet Access 14 with 20MB of Online Backup 15 


$2299 


.. As low as $63/Mo., for 48 Mos. 33 
fi E* VALUE CODE: 04249-500121s 


Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ NEWSB Live! Value Digital with MusicMatch* Jukebox Enhanced 37 

■ NEW Harman Kardon HK-595 Surround Sound Speakers with Subwoofer 

■ 250MB iomega Zip BUILT-IN Drive with One Disk 
Add $279 E- VALUE CODE: 04249-5001 24u 

DELL® DIMENSION® XPS T550 Desktop 
High Performance, Great Value 

■ Intel® Pentium* III Processor at 550MHz 

■ 128MB SDRAM at 100MHz 

■ 13.6GB* Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEWM" (16.0" vis, .28dp) E770 Monitor 

■ A/EW16MB ATI RAGE 128 Pro Graphics 

■ 48X Max 8 Variable CD-ROM Drive 

■ Yamaha XG 64V Wavetable Sound 

■ harman/kardon HK-195 Speakers 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI Telephony Modem for Windows 


$1499 4&s e- 


As low as S41/Mo.,for 48 Mos. 33 
VALUE CODE: 04249-5001 14s 


Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 17" (16.0" vis, .24 -.25 AG) P780 FD Trinitron® Monitor 

■ Turtle Beach Montego® II A3D™ 320V Sound Card with 
MusicMatch* Jukebox Standard 38 

■ 1-Year Dellnet SM Internet Access 14 Service with 20MB of Online Backup 15 
Add $229 E* VALUE CODE: 04249-5001 17v 

DELL® DIMENSION ® L500r Desktop 
Affordable Desktop Solution 

■ Intel* Pentium® III Processor at 500E MHz 

■ 64MB SDRAM at 100MHz 

■ 6.4GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEWM" (16.0" vis) E770 Monitor 

■ Intel* 3D AGP Graphics ■ 48X Max 8 Variable CD-ROM Drive 

■ SoundBlaster 64V PCI Sound Card with MusicMatch* Jukebox Standard 38 

■ harman/kardon HK-195 Speakers 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI DataFax Modem for Windows 


$1199 ms 


As low as $33/Mo.,for 48 Mos. 33 
VALUE CODE: 04249-500111 


Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 13.6GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Altec Lansing ASC-340 Speakers with Subwoofer 

■ 1-Year Dellnet SM Internet Access 14 Service with 20MB of Online Backup 15 
Add $189 E -VALUE CODE: 04249-5001 14u 


1.800.243.2692 


MON-SUN: 7A-IIPCT 


on line conditions. Analog phone line and compatible server equipment required. ’Includes 150 hours Internet access per month, with $1.50 per hour charge for 
each hour (or fraction thereof) over 150 hours. Remote subscribers subject to additional charge of $4.95 for each hour of Dellnet service. Excludes applicable 
taxes and local/long distance telephone access fees or charges. Additional $1 .00/hour surcharge for Dellnet service in HI and AK. ,5 0nline backup services are 
provided by a third party, and such services are provided subject to terms and conditions between such third party and the customer. Limited to 20MB of online 
storage; additional storage space available at additional charge. Dell disclaims any responsibility for lost customer data. “Software, packaging and documen- 
tation differ from retail versions. M For select Hewlett Packard printers. “Limited time offer. Includes one (1) DVD title (max. $20.00 total value, including tax and 
shipping charges) with purchase of a new Dell system with a DVD-ROM drive. Internet access required to register for the offer; see details at 
www.dell.com/dellzone. Offer must be redeemed within 60 days from the date of system invoice. “Includes one (1) upgrade and online technical support from 
MusicMatch. 42 To achieve 75GB Max. hard drive capacity on the Inspiron 7500, you must purchase a 25GB internal primary hard drive and the 25GB HDD option 
for both the 2nd and 3rd hard drive bays. Note that the Inspiron 7500 notebook must be used on AC power when utilizing the 75GB Max. hard drive configura- 
tion. 43 2.4X Min. ^Only available for use with Windows 98 and Windows 95 desktop systems (no Apple computers). Simultaneous access to the Internet may 
reduce access performance. There is no ability to use the phone or receive calls when using dial-up connection to the Internet. “13.8X Min. “Based on Intel 
AGP 4X Graphics Test and Platform Bandwidth Test. Intel, the Intel Inside logo and Pentium are registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of Intel 
Corporation. MS, Microsoft, IntelliMouse and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. 3Com is a registered trademark of 3Com 
Corporation. HP and DeskJet are registered trademarks of Hewlett Packard Corporation. ©1999 Dell Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. 


BE DIRECT 

DOLL 

www.dell4me.com 






Congratulations. You just left Bob and his computer back there about a half a mile, standing in a cloud 
of your dust. Meanwhile you're cruising at Mach II thanks to the NEW motherboard. Combined with 
RDRAM, it offers up to a 116% increased memory performance gain over earlier systems. 47 The result 
— WHOA! Start it up and you'll find that everything is faster, smoother, more realistic and more 
intense. Technology at warp speed. It's one more benefit of the Dell4me SM total ownership experience. 
It's a complete resource for products and services that make it easy for you to get the most out of technology. 




DELL4me 


YOUR THOUGHTS EXACTLY. 


NEW DELL* DIMENSION* XPS B733r Desktop 
The Need-for-Speed Solution 

■ Intel* Pentium* III Processor at 733MHz ■ 128MB ECC PC700 RDRAM at 356MHz 

■ 27.3GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive ■ 17" (16.0“ vis) P780 FD Trinitron' Monitor 

■ NEW 32MB NVIDIA geFORCE 4X AGP Graphics 

» 8X Max’ 0 Variable DVD-ROM Drive and Decoder Card with TV Out 
with FREES 20 DVD Movie Offer 37 

■ NEW SB Live! Value Digital with MusicMatch* Jukebox Enhanced-' 

■ NEW Altec Lansing THX Certified ADA885 Dolby Digital Speakers with Subwoofer 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI Telephony Modem for Windows 

■ Microsoft 1 ' Works Suite 2000 with Money 2000 Basic 

■ Microsoft’ Windows* 98, Second Edition 

■ l-Year Dellnet 5M Internet Access’ 4 Service with 20MB of Online Backup’ 5 

■ 3-Year Limited Warranty 3 ■ 1 -Year At-Home Service ' 

C% C% ^ As low as $82/Mo.,for 48 Mos.” 

7 7 7 E-VAIUE CODE: 04250-500129 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 19" (17.9" vis) P991 FD Trinitron® Monitor ■ 34.2GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 
« Microsoft® Natural Keyboard Pro, Dell* Edition 

Add $389 E-VALUE CODE: 04250-500133U 


www.deM4me.com 


MON-SUN: 7A-HPCT 


33 Monthly payments based on sales price depicted for 48-mo. term at 13.99% APR. NOT ALL BUYERS WILL QUALIFY FOR 
THIS APR. APR for qualified customers varies by creditworthiness of customer as determined by Dell Financial Services 
L.P. Payments exclude taxes and shipping charges that vary. Taxes & shipping charges due with 1st payment unless included 
in the amount financed, in which case your monthly payment will be higher. Purchase Plan offered through Dell Financial 
Services L.P., 14050 Summit Dr., Austin, TX 78728, to U.S. state residents (including D.C.) with approved credit, excluding AR 
and MN residents. Availability may be limited or offer may vary in other states. 


(g? 

pentium®/// 


Pipeline 


JAKE KIRCHNER 

Goodbye to Y2K 

BY ALL MEANS, LET’S FIRST BE CLEAR ABOUT THE 
lessons we’ve learned — that technology is central 
to modern life, that failure to plan for the long 
term when developing computing systems is dan- 
gerous, and that there is a hard-to-discern line 
between faith in technology and arrogance about 
our ability to manage it safely. But most important, 
let’s get back to the work of using technology to 
better lives and businesses. 

The optimists out there will probably figure out 
that PC Magazine publishing deadlines required 
me to write this before all our computer clocks 
turned to the year 2000. The Y2K skeptics will no 
doubt note that I timed this to appear several 
weeks after the big moment so as to be sure that 
any minor Y2K disruptions have been dealt with 
by the time you read this column. 

No matter how we weathered the moment, the 
fact remains that Y2K and the billions of dollars of 
“remediation” it precipitated have been a huge but 
necessary distraction for the buyers and sellers of 
computing and Internet products and services. 

If my predictions from the last two years proved accurate and 
today we aren’t all huddled in cold, dark homes without food or 
money, people will start spending on things other than Y2K pre- 
paredness. Companies that spent all their time and money during 
the last 18 months updating or replacing old COBOL code will turn 
their attention to building corporate portals and implementing 
e-business strategies. Small businesses that bought all new PCs and 
servers to be sure they would be Y2K-compliant will now start look- 
ing for software that takes advantage of their new hardware. Home 
computer users will have updated their BIOSs and their antivirus 
software and can confidently sign up for high-speed Internet 
options. Everyone will wonder, “Should I move to Windows 2000?” 
There are two schools of thought on this question. One group 
says that everyone spent so much money getting ready for Y2K 
that there’s nothing left over for this year. The other group says 
that computer users put off major expenditures in 1999 because 
they didn’t want to buy products that might not be Y2K-ready. My 
theory is that if Y2K problems were severe, people will spend more 
money to fix them; if Y2K breezed by, people will have renewed 
confidence in technology and will continue the historical trend of 
spending more every year on computing and the Internet. 

For what it’s worth, the experts predict positive growth in 
spending. International Data Corp. reported that worldwide PC 
sales shook off the Y2K doldrums to rise 15.8 percent from the third 
to fourth quarter of 1999, and predicted that the sales figures for all 
of 2000 should be up 18.3 percent over 1999. Pricewaterhouse- 
Coopers reported that corporate IT spending among the fastest- 
growing U.S. companies had bounced back from a Y2K-induced 
i slowdown in the third quarter and will increase this year over last. 
| I’ve always said that the best thing about this millennial madness 

1 was that at some point, we’d know who was right about the Y2K 
§ problem: disaster or dud? I said “dud.” If I was wrong, I’ll apologize. 
I If I was right, I won’t mention it, and this will be my last column on 
1 the subject. Please hold your applause. 



Let’s get 
back to the 
work of 
using tech- 
nology to 
better lives 
and busi- 
nesses. 



Thin Transistors 


MOTOROLA RECENTLY ANNOUNCED 
that its researchers have devel- 
oped the thinnest transistor ever, 
which could lay the foundation for 
palm-size computers and cellular 
phones with processors that rival 
those found in today’s fastest 
desktop computers. This could 
lead to cellular phones with video- 
conferencing features and palm- 
size computers with streaming 
video and audio capabilities. 

Efforts to make transistors 
thinner have focused primarily 
on thinning the silicon dioxide 
layer, but that approach has 
reached its physical limits and 
enticed Motorola to explore new 


materials. The researchers are 
using a class of materials called 
Perovskites, which have unique 
electrical properties. 

Meanwhile, IBM has produced 
a transistor that can be sprayed 
onto plastic, laying the ground- 
work for devices such as com- 
puter displays on plastic sheets 
that can be rolled up and carried 
in your pocket. Traditionally, 
transistors generate so much 
heat that they need to be mount- 
ed on surfaces that won’t melt, 
such as metal. IBM’s flexible tran- 
sistors, however, incorporate 
both organic and inorganic 
materials to reduce heat. 


Mobile Web for $10 a Month 


WEB-BROWSING MOBILE PHONES ARE 
selling fast, thanks to the attrac- 
tion of getting Web information on 
the go. Although the phones cost 
more than non browsing counter- 
parts, the services aren’t prohibi- 
tively expensive. AT&T Wireless 
Services, Bell Atlantic Mobile, and 


Sprint PCS are all offering packages 
for relatively low monthly fees, 
with Nextel expected to follow 
soon. AT&T’s $29.95-per-month 
plan is the only one to offer unlimit- 
ed Web access. Both Bell Atlantic 
and Sprint, however, offer pack- 
ages for less than $10 a month. 


Wireless Web Access 


These services bring the Internet straight to your cell phone. 


1 Company 

URL 

Product 

What you get 

Price* 

AT&T 

Wireless 

Services 

www.attws 

.com 

AT&T 

PocketNet 

Unlimited service 

$29.95/month plus 
AT&T phone price 
plan 

Bell 

Atlantic 

Mobile 

www.bam.com 

Web Access 
Micro- 
browser 

Monthly bundle of 
access minutes 
shared between voice 
and data services 

$9.95/month plus 
DigitalChoice voice 
price plan 

Sprint PCS 

www.sprintpcs 

.com 

Sprint PCS 
Wireless 

Choice of plans, 
starting at 50 wire- 
less Web minutes and 
50 wireless Web up- 

$9.99/month and up, 
plus Sprint PCS Ser- 
vice Plan ($29.99/ 
month and up) 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 85 












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ACTIVE SERVER PAGES 3.0 

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Online Biz 
Better Behave 

E-COMMERCE BANDITS HAD 
better watch out. The Better 
Business Bureau has drafted a 
Code of Online Business Prac- 
tices in an effort to encourage 
businesses on the Web to toe 
the line and boost consumers’ 
trust in online commerce. 

The voluntary guidelines con- 
sist of five basic principles, from 
informing customers about the 
use of their personal information 
to protecting children online. 

The code of conduct for 
e-business was drawn up in 
part with research from the 
Bureau’s online arm, BBBOnLine 
( www.bbbonline.org ), which 
has reviewed more than 5,000 
commercial Web sites to deter- 
mine whether they qualify for 
the BBBOnLine Reliability Seal 
and BBBOnLine Privacy Seal 
programs. 


A CODE OF CONDUCT 
FOR E-BUSINESS 


Principle 1: 

Disclose, Disclose, Disclose. 
Provide accurate information 
about goods or services 
offered through online trans- 
actions. 

Principle 2: 

Tell the whole truth and 
nothing but the truth. 

Do not mislead customers 
about any aspect of electron- 
ic commerce, including 
advertising and marketing. 

Principle 3: 

Have respectful information 
practices. 

Post and adhere to a privacy 
policy. Provide adequate 
security. Respect your cus- 
tomers’ preferences regard- 
ing unsolicited e-mail. 

Principle 4: 

Aim to please. 

Resolve disputes in a timely 
and responsive manner. 

Principle 5: 

Take special care with 
children. 

1 Adhere to the Children’s 

* Advertising Review Unit's 
| Self-Regulatory Guidelines 

| for Children’s Advertising. 

2 

f= Source: BBBOnLine. Here, the BBB’s wording 
| of each general principle is followed by our 

3 summary of the specific recommendations. 

88 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


Pipeline 



E-Legislation News 

I nternet bills are flooding Congress as never before, with online 
privacy, free speech, junk e-mail, encryption, and intellectual 
property just some of the hot-button issues. Here’s a roundup of 
legislative action taken in the last session and some of the bills 
now before legislators at the second session of the 106th Congress. 

The Senate has approved digital-signature legislation that gives 
electronic contracts the same force of law as paper-and-pen con- 
tracts. This establishes a federal framework for accepting digital sig- 
natures and other electronic authentication within contract law. Con- 
sumer groups are concerned that this will infringe on state consumer 
protections. The House passed its own version of the bill last fall. 

The Senate also passed a bill banning most Internet gambling, 
with exceptions for some fantasy sports leagues and lotteries. The 
bill also prohibits online advertising for some legal gambling and 
casinos. The House will take up its Internet gambling bill this year. 

Although several bills on the table give federal funding to 
schools and libraries for Web filtering software, none have been 
enacted. The Juvenile Justice Reform Act, which also calls for fil- 
tering software for children, is currently stalled in a House-Senate 
conference. However, Congress isn’t ignoring children’s issues. 
The Children’s Online Protection Act (COPA) Commission is 
studying ways to protect children from harmful online material. 
COPA is expected to conduct hearings and issue a report this year. 

The final version of the omnibus budget bill Congress passsed last 
session outlaws cybersquatting— the practice of registering desirable 
domain names for future profit — by imposing a fine of up to $100,000 
for the “bad faith” registration of domain names. Free speech advo- 
cates are concerned that this will harm small Web sites and under- 
mine the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non- 
profit corporation formed to assume responsibility for domain name 
issues. ICANN has been trying to institute dispute resolution policies. 

Congress took no action last term to tackle junk e-mail, medical 
records privacy, and general online privacy. However, several bills 
under consideration call for regulating unsolicited e-mail and ban- 
ning online alcohol and gun sales. Legislators are also working on 
a set of rules to protect the privacy of personal health records. 

The Electronic Rights for the Twenty-First Century Act (intro- 
duced by Democratic senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont) is an effort 
to set standards regarding law enforcement officials accessing infor- 
mation about people’s locations and regarding the right for people to 
use and sell encryption products. The Online Privacy Protection > 


Small Biz Heads 
To the Web 

SMALL BUSINESSES ARE FLOCKING 
to the Web in increasing num- 
bers, with 37 percent having 
Internet presences in 1999, up 
from 10 percent the previous 
year, according to market 
research firm IDC. 

So why are so many small 
businesses holding off on build- 
ing Web sites? According to a 
recent survey sponsored by 
Prodigy Biz, two-thirds of small 
business owners say the Web 
doesn’t offer them significant 
opportunities for growth, 
because they’re running local 
businesses. 

But other factors are 
involved, too. Many small busi- 
ness owners say they have nei- 
ther the staff nor the time to 
maintain Web sites. And the 
smaller the company, the less 
likely it is to have a Web site. 

One in four companies with 
fewer than ten employees is on 
the Internet, compared with 50 
percent of those with ten or 
more employees, according to 
the Prodigy Biz survey. 

When asked how they’d use 
the Internet, respondents said 
their primary activities would 
be promoting to prospective 
customers, conducting 
e-commerce, and providing 
better customer service. 

Big Gains for 
Small Biz 

Some 37 percent of all small 
businesses have Web pres- 
ences, compared with 10 
percent a year ago. 

60 “| Percent 


§| 1998 



1 to 9 10 to 49 50 to 99 


Number of employees 


Source: IDC and Prodigy Biz, 1999. 


CDW presents a 
Bill of Rights for 
the IT manager 



The Founding 
Fathers were ready 
onto something. Why not 
guarantee the rights of the 
individuaC citizen? So, we at 
CF)W decided to do that very same 
thing. For starters, wefirmCy behieve in 
your freedom of seCection. That ’s why we draw 
from thousands of name brand products to provide 
you with custom-configured solutions. And Cet ’s not forget 
your right to superior service from a dedicated account manager, 
not to mention your right to 24-hour technicaC support and the Cowest 
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to the simpCest accessories. We beCieve this aCC serves to form a more perfect union 
between CT)W and you. Franhjy, anything Cess wouCd be unconstitutionaC. 





Computing Solutions 
Built for Business ™ 
www.cdw.com 
800 - 399-4239 




Your right to organization 


Monitor sold separately 

Optimize your desk space with the Compaq Deskpro EP towerable desktop 
computer. It converts from desktop to mini-tower in minutes, allowing you to 
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roMPAa 


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Upgrade the essentials. Seagate's 17.2GB EIDE hard drive delivers 
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Seagate 17.2GB EIDE hard drive 


lify your 
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If you are short on space, but require superior 
image quality in a monitor, look to the Sony 
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Sony Multiscan E200 

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CDW 188415 


CDW 173558 


The internal U.S. Robotics 56K Faxmodem V.90 
supports the 56K (V.90) standard so you can get all 
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U.S. Robotics 56K Faxmodem V.90 


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CDW 151919 


Simplify your work area with the Hewlett-Packard 
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Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet R80 

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CDW 159519 


Dymo LabelWriter Turbo prints all 
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h 

CDW Smart 

Put the power of CDW.com to work on your needs. If you see a 
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COMPAQ SONY 


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Palm , ^1 

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©2000 CDW® Computer Centers, Inc. 200 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 PCM5358B 2/1/00 






When working from home or on the road, it is 
important that you can work at full power. 
Charge up your mobility with a memory 
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The incredibly thin and light Sony VAIO notebook 
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VAIO PCG-Z505RX 
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Connect any printer to your growing network 
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All products sold by CDW are third party products and are subject to the warranties and 
representations of the applicable manufacturers, including but not limited to Y2K 
compliance. Accordingly, CDW makes no representation or warranty with respect to the 
Y2K compliance of products sold. 

56K modems are capable of 56Kbps downloads, however, current regulations limit 
download speed to 53Kbps. 

Internet connectivity requires access services from an Internet access provider. Contact 
your local access provider for rates, terms and conditions. 

©2000 CDW® Computer Centers, Inc. 

200 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 PCM5328C 2/1/00 


cow} 


Computing Solutions 
Built for Business ™ 

www.cdw.com 

800-399-4239 



Your right to 

maintain control 


Experience the difference 


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Internet connectivity requires access sen/ices from an Internet access provider. Contact your 
local access provider for rates, terms and conditions. 

©2000 CDW* Computer Centers, Inc. 

200 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills. IL 60061 PCM5358D 2/1/00 


5 


£ 


CD 

g 

l 

=: 






The Search Continues 


AS THE WEB HAS GROWN, THE PATHS 
search engines take to retrieve 
information have proliferated. As a 
result, evaluating search engines 
has become increasingly difficult. 

A number of criteria can be 
applied when analyzing a search 
site’s performance. PC Maga- 
zine's recent search site roundup 


Search 

engine 

Number of Web 
pages indexed 

Northern Light 

200,352,984 

Fast Search 

192,647,990 

AltaVista 

191,213,426 

Google! 

126,264,723 

Answers 

78,739,024 

iWon Inktomi 

78,068,018 

Excite 

71,195,996 

Yahool’s Inktomi 

68,882,184 

AOL Inktomi 

68,002,936 

1 Lycos 

55,462,074 

Infoseek 

52,454,119 

Snap 

50,603,069 

HotBot 

39,334,805 


(October 5, 1999) used several 
criteria to find the best sites for 
directory searches, research, and 
all-purpose searches. The search 
engines themselves have not 
been particularly helpful in pro- 
viding regularly updated, reliable 
statistics about how they work. 

Enter Greg R. Notess, a refer- 
ence librarian for Montana State 
University. Notess has created a 
Web site called Search Engine 
Showdown ( www.notess 
.com/search), which provides 
statistical analyses of the leading 
search sites. His methods involve 
examining the results of 25 dif- 
ferent searches across each 
search engine. 

Based on his most recent 
analysis (run on November 29, 
1999), the current leader in num- 
ber of Web pages indexed is 
Northern Light, followed by Fast 
Search and AltaVista. 


Pipeline 


Legislation Continued 

Act (introduced by Conrad Burns, Republican senator from Montana, 
and Ron Wyden, Democratic senator from Oregon) calls for posted 
privacy disclosures, gives consumers access to their personal data, 
and lets them choose not to release information to third parties. 

The Center for Computers & Democracy maintains an up-to- 
date guide on pending legislation affecting the Internet at 
www.cdt.org/legislation. 


Web Profiling 


Toshiba 


s online privacy issues have grabbed headlines in re- 
cent months, it’s apparent that marketers are collect- 
ing far more information about our online shopping 
surfing habits than most of us realize. A large 
group of companies, ranging from Compaq and Oracle to Net 
Perceptions and Andromedia, is working on a new standard, 
dubbed CPEX (Customer Profile Exchange), for how consumer 
information is collected and shared. 

Unlike most of the current efforts to collect information about 
customers’ surfing and shopping habits, CPEX is designed on an 
open-source model where customers may have new levels of con- 
trol over what personal information they allow to be disseminat- 
ed. In other words, the backers of CPEX claim they aren’t saying, 
“We’re secretly going to stash personal information about you.” 
Instead, they claim they’re saying, “We’re going to collect the infor- 
mation, and you’re invited to the party.” 

Internet privacy issues have been in the spotlight recently. Sony 
Entertainment recently had a problem when a glitch permitted 
advertisers to obtain the e-mail addresses of subscribers to its 
InfoBeat e-mail service. Likewise, RealNetworks got into trouble 
for capturing and tracking data about the music files (such as MP3 
files) that its customers downloaded. 

The newly proposed CPEX standard for collecting online surf- 
ing information is designed to integrate online and off-line 
customer data in an XML-based format for use by marketers. 
Without a doubt, the backers of CPEX are in the business of col- 
lecting and sharing information about shopping habits. At the 
same time, CPEX is unique among approaches to collecting con- 
sumer information on the Web, in that the open-source model for 
the proposed standard might allow consumers to take some 
control over what marketers collect. 


Real 

They’re built with compact moth- 
erboards, USB ports, and ease-of- 
use features geared for home 
users. Perhaps U.S. manufacturers 
will take note of these new eye- 
catchers. Can similar systems 
from Compaq, Dell, Hewlett- 
Packard, and IBM be far behind? 


Concept PCs Get 


AT LAST SPRING’S INTEL DEVELOPER 
Forum, Intel showcased several 
concept PCs in an effort to shake 
up the world of computer design. 
Some of them are now in produc- 
tion, shipping initially in Asia. 

Why now? Because all the 
pieces have fallen into place. 


NEC Simplem 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 93 



Get the right tool for the job. 


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TOOLS & TIPS FOR THE INTERNET AGE 




Enter more text more easily on 
you palmtop with a 
detachable keyboard. 



SOLUTIONS 

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The pluses and minuses of 
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A quicker way to enter foreign 
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DESKTOP 

Windows 98’s Emergency 
Start-Up Disk is an indispens- 
able tool for recovering from 
system crashes. 




jFileTipUnreg.exe 

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UTILITIES 

FileTip displays relevant file 
information in a ToolTip at tli 
mouse pointer. 



PLUS: USER TO USER PC Magazine's community of experts answer readers’ questions. 97 


www.pcmag.com/solutions 

You’ll find all of the articles, examples, 
and codefiles mentioned in this 
section at Solutions online. 



ILLUSTRATION BY CATHIE BLECK 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 95 








ininrrr qHMB 


MOBILE SOLUTIONS 


Simplify text input 
on your PDA. 

External keyboards like 
these offerings from Land- 
Ware and Hewlett-Packard 
take the tedium out of 
entering and editing data 
on your hand-held device. 



Take the Tedium Out 
Of PDA Data Input 



Delay until repeat] 


K ey repeot 


Layout: 

1 Tab: 

1 Test: l - 


Field Nov. 


Define I keys. 


Customize the Go- 
Type! keyboard. 

You can use the included 
application software to 
choose, for example, 
between QWERTY and 
Dvorak layouts. 


We show you two ways to get data into your PDA — fast! 

By Bruce and Marge Brown 


O ne-handed PDAs like Palm organiz- 
ers and Windows CE palm-size PCs 
are great for storing personal data 
and notes, but entering data can be 
exceedingly tedious. Devices in this category 
come with character recognizers for data input 
(Graffiti on the Palm devices and CIC’s Jot on 
the Windows CE units) plus miniscule on- 
screen virtual keyboards on which you can tap 
single letters, but neither is great for rapid or 
lengthy entries. Fortunately there are alterna- 
tives to speed up data entry on both of the 
major PDA platforms, including both an exter- 
nal keyboard and a clever software-based data- 
input alternative. 

No single input method appeals to every 
user, but external keyboards have the advantage 
of familiarity and speed. If using an external 
keyboard with a PDA sounds silly, adding con- 
venience at the expense of portability, remem- 
ber that you can always use the PDA’s internal 
character recognizer while on the go and leave 
the keyboard in your hotel room or office for 
more extensive data entry and editing. Land- 
Ware sells two portable keyboards for Palm or- 
ganizers: the LandWare GoType! ($80 direct, 


www.landware.com ) for the PalmPilot, Palm III, 
Palm IIIx, and Palm VII, and the GoType! Pro 
($90 direct) for the Palm V. The HP External 
Keyboard ($79 direct, www.hp.com ) works with 
several HP Windows CE PDAs, including the 
palm-size HP Jornada 420 and 428 and the 
hand-held Jornada 680 and 68oe. 

If you don’t want yet another piece of gear to 
lug around, Tegic Communications’ program T9 
Text Input ($40 direct, www.tegic.com ), available 
for both Palm organizers and Windows CE de- 
vices (and also used on many smart digital cell 
phones), is a surprisingly easy alternative used 
with a PDA’s touch screen. T9 is a trainable lin- 
guistic database application with an intelligent 
virtual keyboard that uses the alphabet charac- 
ter groupings on telephone keypads and guess- 
es words and names quickly as you tap the char- 
acter groups. A new utilization of a fairly 
familiar interface, T9 is fast and even fun to use. g 

Whether you stick with the standard entry 1 
methods or use an alternative hardware or soft- | 
ware accessory, the variety of data input meth- | 
ods for PDAs should mean that everyone can z 
find one or more ways to be more efficient and I 
comfortable. i 


96 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


PALM ORGANIZER PORTABLE KEYBOARDS 

The GoType! and Go Type! Pro keyboards are 
lightweight (n ounces each) and share a sleek 
design with a fold-down lid for easy portability. 
The keyboards are nearly identical in size: The 
GoType! measures 0.8 by 10 by 4 inches (HWD), 
and the GoType! Pro measures 1 by 10 by 4 inch- 
es. With GoType! Keyboards, you have the op- 
tion of entering data exclusively from the key- 
board or in conjunction with the Palm 
organizer’s virtual keyboard and Graffiti char- 
acters. The GoType! keyboards support Palm 
applications running on Palm OS 1.0 or higher. 
You cannot use either keyboard with a modem 
connection and the GoType! application must 
be disabled in order for a modem to operate. 

The Palm organizer docks in the center of the 
keyboard, requiring no cables or separate key- 
board batteries. The keyboard draws a low level 
of power from the Palm organizer’s batteries. 
The GoType Pro! includes a serial port and 
cable for direct synchronization from the key- 
board dock to a computer. The direct PC con- 
nection with the Pro! model is a plus, because 
you don’t have to carry a cradle and a keyboard 
in your bag. Users can also recharge their Palm 
V batteries while the device is docked in the 
GoType! Pro keyboard. 

The GoType! includes a 19K driver applica- 
tion for the Palm organizer, which is installed 
via the Palm Install Tool with a HotSync. To en- 
able the GoType! driver, you tap the enable 
command on the GoType! screen. 

Once the GoType! is enabled, you can start 
data entry via the keyboard. The sliding foot on 
the back base of the unit keeps the keyboard, 
with a Palm organizer docked, very steady for 
constant keying. The rectangular keys — spaced 
17 mm, center to center — are comfortable and 
quiet (standard desktops and most notebook 
computers use 19-mm spacing). There is no per- 
ceptible delay between the keying action and 
the screen response. 

The GoType! application provides a few set- 
tings for keyboard customization. You can se- 
lect either a QWERTY or Dvorak layout, and the 
Tab key is configurable to either move to the 
next field or generate a tab space. The settings 
for key repeat rates and delays are less useful. 

Productivity gains are possible if you take ad- 
vantage of the GoTypeJ’s function keys, which 
you can set to launch up to 24 Palm applications 
or functions with combinations of Shift and Alt 
keys. The keyboard has six prominent, green 
function keys — three on either side of its dock- 
ing port — labeled Memo, Address, To Do, Date 
Book, Mail, and Find. You can use the keys as la- 
beled or reprogram them; each key can launch 
four different commands. 

There are useful GoType! shortcut key com- 
binations for scrolling, selecting text, or exiting 
a screen. One of the most useful is combining 


the Command key with the key for the first 
character of a menu command. For example, if 
you are entering an appointment and you key 
Command-D, the Event Details screen appears. 
The GoType! also supports international char- 
acters and keying special characters like frac- 
tions and symbols. The GoType! Pro keyboard 
adds Caps and NumLock key enhancements. 

The GoType! doesn’t replace the need to tap 
the Palm screen for navigation, but with smart 
use of its function keys, you can transfer the 
bulk of your data input and navigation keying to 
its keyboard. 

WINDOWS CE EXTERNAL KEYBOARD 

The HP External Keyboard has a soft pouch, in- 
stead of a lid, to protect it for mobile use. It’s a 
space- and weight-saver, at 0.9 by 9.8 by 5 inch- 
es, and it weighs only 9.8 ounces. The layout of 
the square, 17-mm-spaced keys in QWERTY for- 
mat feels spacious and is quite adequate for 
rapid data entry. Like the GoType!, the External 
Keyboard requires no batteries; it connects to 
your HP device via serial cable. 

Before you can use the HP keyboard, you 
need to install the driver program by download- 
ing it from a PC to your PDA. As long as the key- 
board driver is installed on your hand-held com- 
puter, the driver is automatically enabled any 
time you connect it to the External Keyboard. A 
keyboard icon in the status bar indicates 
whether the keyboard is operational. In key- 
board “on” mode, you can leave the External 
Keyboard connected and still switch to an alter- 
nate input method such as the built-in virtual 
keyboard. Sleep mode displays when the serial 
port is being used for the PDA’s PC connection 
and the External Keyboard is disabled. 

You can either double-tap the keyboard icon 
or tap the top right key on the External Key- 
board to launch the keyboard configuration 
screens for Text Macros, Date and Time Stamp, 
and Function Keys. Text macros are used for 
storing frequently used strings of text and sym- 
bols for insertion in documents with two key- 
strokes. You can program up to 26 macros of 
1,026 characters each, using the input shortcuts 
Fn-A through Fn-Z. 

Using the External Keyboard’s function keys is 
a quick way to launch applications and program 
functions, such as Cut and Paste. You can assign 
16 special functions with the Fi through F8 keys 
and Ctrl-Fi through Ctrl-F8 keys. There are eight 
default functions that match the icons on the eight 
keys on the top row of the keyboard, including 
Launch Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks. You 
can customize any of the 16 functions and restore 
the eight default settings with a single keystroke. 
If you use the default settings, you get four bonus 
functions for creating new e-mail, a new calendar 
event, a new contact, or a new task. 

Some of the additional External Keyboard 


LI b E 


V) 


Double-Duty Devices 

If you’re getting tired of carrying 
too many electronic devices, each 
intended to enhance one part of 
your professional or personal life, 
combination electronics can cut 
your load. No single device has 
yet come to market that ably 
replaces a separate cell phone, 
pager, PDA, and voice recorder— 
but the Nokia 9000 Communica- 
tor series ( www.nokiausa.com ) 
comes the closest so far. The 
problem is that it’s too heavy and 
bulky for general-purpose users. 
One recently introduced combina- 
tion is the Motorola StarTac cell 
phone used with a Starfish True- 
Sync clipOn PDA ( www.motorola 
.com, www.starfish.com ), which 
combines the popular, tiny cell 
phone with a capable contact- 
reference and dialing device. 

Another notable combination is 
the Palm organizer models used 
with Synapse Pager Cards ( www 
. palm.com ) that add paging and 
pda functions. The QualComm 
PDQ, a combination cell phone and 
PDA based on the Palm platform, 
should come to market later this 
year, along with a number of cell 
phones that sport added smart 
features that mimic PDA func- 
tions.— BB 



Lighten Up 

Help! I have to carry around too 
many cables and connectors for my 
notebook PC and cell phone. What I 
hoped would be a convenience is 
turning into a hassle. How can I 
lighten my load? 

Bill Strom 
Chicago, Illinois 

If you rely on your portable com- 
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take them with you everywhere, 
one way to simplify your cable 
hell is to get the PORT Universal 
Auto/Air Power Adapter ($120 
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and cell phones. This bimodal 
device plugs into the 12-volt 
cigarette lighter sockets found in 
most cars and boats and, when 
you remove an outer housing, into 
the Empower power jacks in- 
stalled on some airline seats. 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 97 


PC MAGAZINE’S COMMUNITY OF EXPERTS AND READERS 




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t USER 


The 6.4-ounce Universal 
Auto/Air Power Adapter comes 
with three power tips, enabling 
connections with many Compaq, 
HP, IBM, and Toshiba notebooks. 
Model-specific adapters are 
available for some Dell notebook 
models as well. PORT also sells a 
wide variety of tips ($10 each, 
direct) to fit cellular phones from 
Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and 
QualComm.— BB 


Combo Cards for 
Notebooks 

My notebook PC has only one 
PCMCIA slot, which I’ve been using 
for a modem card. But my company 
recently installed a network and 
now wants me to use a combo card. 
What is a combo card, and are there 
any drawbacks to using one? 

ALBERT RHODES 
via the Internet 


A PCMCIA (or PC Card) combo card 
incorporates a modem and a 
network interface card (NIC) in a 
single unit. Such cards offer the 
advantages of both modem and 
network connections while using 
only a single slot, making them 
ideal for one-slot computers. They 
are also convenient for notebooks 
with two slots, as they let users 
keep the second slot free for 
other peripherals such as Flash 
RAM units and adapter cards. 

Make sure the card comes with 
drivers for your notebook’s oper- 
ating system. If your notebook 
does not have a 32-bit CardBus PC 
Card slot, be sure that your com- 
pany gives you a 16-bit combo 
card, because a 32-bit card (while 
capable of faster throughput) 
won’t fit in a 16-bit slot. On the 
other hand, 16-bit cards work fine 
in 32-bit slots. 

Combo cards are available 
from many manufacturers, and 
most use detachable short 
cables with industry-standard 
telephone and NIC ports on the 
ends. These cables, called don- 
gles, are yet one more accessory 
to keep track of. This is probably 
the biggest drawback of using 
combo cards; integrated ports 
that don’t require dongles would 
be an advantage.— BB 


100 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


MOBILE SOLUTIONS 


keys that simplify input include a Task Switch 
key to toggle to the next active application, an 
OK key to save content, a Cancel key to cancel 
content, and Num and Caps Lock keys. Two-key 
combinations are used for displaying Help 
screens, entering international characters and 
symbols, and accessing four character libraries — 
Math, Greek, Dingbat, and Miscellaneous. 

The HP External Keyboard for PDAs is a use- 
ful tool for enhanced productivity when mobile 
or at the desktop. 

T9 TEXT INPUT 

Tegic’s T9 Text Input (177K) installs via PC 
download on a Palm organizer with the Palm 
Install Tool and on a Win- 
dows CE P/PC with Win- 
dows CE Services. With sur- 
prising speed and accuracy, 
it converts ambiguous key- 
strokes to the most likely 
words and punctuations. 

The T9 program is also 
used on wireless telephones 
for entering text and will be 
integrated in other types of 
wireless devices, such as 
pagers and remote controls, 
so the time required to learn 
it will likely pay off in other 
areas. T9 Text Input is avail- 
able in ten languages other 
than English and works with 
all Palm OS and Windows 
CE applications that accept 
text input. 

To enable T9 on a Palm organizer, you tap 
the abc dot in the Graffiti area, enter the Graffi- 
ti command /K, or set the full-pen stroke to pop 
up the T9 keyboard. 

On a Windows CE device like the Philips 
Nino 300, you select T9 from the menu of input 
options to the right of the Start button. 

T9’s keypad resembles a nine-key telephone 
keypad— hence the name, an abbreviation for 
text on nine keys. There is a key for quick entry 
of periods, dashes, or apostrophes; the Sym key 
leads to more punctuation marks and symbols. 
T9 has additional keypads for numbers, inter- 
national characters, and navigation. 

Above the keypad is the text-input field 
where words are formed. There are two user 
preferences, one for the font size (small or 
large) and one for the keypad size (minimum 
and maximum — actual size depends on the PDA 
operating system). 

To input a word, you tap anywhere on the key 
for each letter in the word. T9 immediately dis- 
plays possible letter combinations across the 
text input field. The letter combinations can 
look strange, as T9 narrows the word choices to 
one, which it displays on the left side of the input 


field. If it is correct, then you tap the Space key 
and move on to the next word. Deletions are fast 
with T9. Tap the back arrow to delete the previ- 
ous letter. Tap the back arrow key and the Shift 
key to delete the previous word. 

For example, to input the word read you tap 
the keys pqrs, def abc, and def. T9 correctly dis- 
plays read as the intended word and shows 
other four-letter combinations that are not 
actual words. (T9 has no spell-checker.) You 
simply tap the Space key to input read. 

To input cards, you tap the abc, abc, pqrs, def, 
and pqrs keys. This time, T9 offers cases as its 
first word choice and displays cards as the sec- 
ond choice. It also offers other possible words 
on a list, such as bases, cares, 
and acres. To input your 
word, tap on the word cards 
and then hit the Space key. 

If T9 cannot derive any 
word choices from your 
input, it beeps. T9 automat- 
ically recognizes more than 
60,000 English words and 
provides space for you to 
add up to 2,000 additional 
words in its T9Words file. 
Adding a word to the data- 
base is a simple process. On 
the right side of the text- 
input field, T9 records your 
exact-letter choices, or the 
actual letter on a key that 
you tapped. For instance, if 
you want to add a specific 
URL to the database, you tap 
its exact letters until the entire Internet address 
appears on the right side of the text-input field. 
Tap the completed word and it is stored for 
reuse. The next time you want to input it, you 
do not need to type the exact letters. lust tap- 
ping on the associated keys will cause the URL 
to appear as a word choice for your selection. 
Infrequently used words are automatically 
deleted from the T9 Words file to make room 
for new entries. 

On a Palm organizer, you can use Graffiti and 
the virtual QWERTY keyboard in tandem with 
T9 Text Input. With T9 enabled, you can ad- 
vance a line, delete and add characters, add a 
space, and use Graffiti shortcuts and com- 
mands. Words used with these other input 
methods cannot be added to the T9 Words file, 
but the capability of combining tools provides 
maximum input flexibility. 

With minimal practice, you can become 
facile with T9 Text Input as your primary data- 
input tool, even if you are not adept with a stan- 
dard keyboard. 


Brace Brown is a contributing editor of PC Maga- 
zine. Marge Brown is a frequent contributor. 



between the lines and leave 
space between words. 

To 

Switch between 
writing and typing 


Select text and pictures 


Drag 
+ Stylus 



Tab 

— / 

abc 

d e f 

+ 

abt 

Shift 

g h i 

j kl 

mno 

Sym au 

123 

¥ 

? 

L 

pqrs 

t U V 

wxyz 

Space 


S Start || © *aJ3 10:59 P $5 


T9 Quick Tips are available online for 
easy reference. 








A GOOD COMPUTER 


COM PA NY IS 


LIKE A GOOD 


EMPLOYEE. 


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a 100-mile radius of the stocking locations are not eligible for this offering. Not available with any other Dell systems. Available in the U.S. only. HP and DeskJet 
are registered trademarks and OpenView is a trademark of Hewlett Packard Corporation. Intel, the Intel Inside Logo and Pentium are registered trademarks 
and Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. <©1999 Dell Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. 



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INTERNET SOLUTIONS 


AutoComplete for Web 
Forms — Is It Safe? 

It’s great to have your browser take over some of the burden of 
remembering your personal information — or is it? By Neil J. Rubenking 


P icture this scenario. You visit www 
.eDdicatessen.com for the first time and 
put a case of Major Squiffy’s Artichoke- 
Eggplant Relish in your shopping cart. You click 
the checkout button and note with relief that you 
have entered a secure Web site. You click on the 
credit card field, type the first digit of your cred- 
it card number, and recoil in horror! Your entire 
credit card number has suddenly appeared in 
a pop-up window! Has the site’s security been 
compromised? Are teen- 
age hackers even now 
ordering naughty videos 
using your credit card? 

Don’t panic: You’ve just 
experienced Microsoft In- 
ternet Explorer 5’s Auto- 
Complete for Web forms. 


HOW AUTOCOMPLETE 
FOR FORMS WORKS 

The Web-based form you 
see in your browser is de- 
fined by commands in the 
page’s source code. Each 
input field on the screen 
is defined and named by a 
command in the source 
code. The internal name 
is usually similar to the 
descriptive label that ap- 
pears next to the input 
field, but without spaces. For example, a field 
labeled “First name” might be called 
f i rst_name or f i rstname internally. IE5 uses 
the internal field names to index its reposito- 
ry of AutoComplete data. As long as Auto- 
Complete for forms is enabled, IE5 notes the 
values you enter in each field when you com- 
plete a form, encrypts them, and records them 
in the Registry. 

The next time you encounter a field with the 
same internal name, whether in the same Web 
form or a completely different one, IE5 readies 
the list of responses associated with that inter- 
nal name. As you start typing, it pops up a list of 
all previous responses that begin with the let- 
ters you’ve typed so far. Each additional letter 
narrows the list of choices. You can click on one 
of the listed responses to select it, or you can 
press the Down Arrow to highlight the response 


you want and then press Enter. 

If you click on a blank input field and press 
the Down Arrow immediately (before typing 
anything), IE5 will list all of the stored respons- 
es for that field, as shown in Figure 1. You may 
notice misspellings or other errors in this list, 
since IE5 stores whatever you’ve typed in that 
field, right or wrong. To remove an erroneous 
entry, press the Down Arrow to highlight it and 
then press the Del key. 


OTHER TYPES OF AUTO- 
COMPLETE 

IE5 also offers automatic 
completion of Web ad- 
dresses. After you’ve typed 
a few characters in IE5’s ad- 
dress bar, a drop-down list 
of matching addresses will 
appear. IE5 matches what 
you’ve typed, without re- 
gard to uppercase or lower- 
case, against the domain 
name and against the por- 
tion following www. Local 
filenames that you’ve 
loaded via IE5 can also 
match. For example, a lone 
c would match http://www 
. city.davis.ca.us , or http://cgi 
.zdnet.com, or file:///C:\ 
windows\temp\att-i.htm. As 
you continue typing, the list shrinks to match. If 
the URL you intended to type appears in the list, 
just click it. AutoComplete for Web addresses 
draws the URLs for its list from your Favorites 
and History folders, as well as from recently 
typed addresses. 

Slightly more alarming is AutoComplete for 
passwords. When this feature is enabled, IE5 re- 
members the user names and passwords you 
enter for password-protected Web sites. The 
next time you visit the same site and select the 
same user name, IE fills in the password for you. 
Most users will want to disable this feature. 

CONTROLLING AUTOCOMPLETE 

You probably don’t remember this, but the 
very first time you submitted a Web-based 
form under IE5, it asked you a question: Auto- 
Complete remembers entries in Web forms, 



Tuesday. October OS. 1089 


Solutions by I 


September 1, 1999 


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I- FIGURE 1: IE5 can help you fill in 
Web-based forms by displaying 
values you’ve entered previously. 


SER TO 


Back Up to the 
Internet 




It seems as though I should be able 
to use the Internet to protect my 
data from disaster. Do you have any 
suggestions? 


TOM CHANG 
Tucson, Arizona 


You’ll probably want to continue 
with your local backups for the 
sake of convenience and price, 
but for extra data protection, 
check out Internet-based backup 
services. If you have a recent 
backup saved to an external site, 
you will be able to access your 
data even in the event of fire, 
flood, or vandalism. Companies 
such as Atrieva ( www.i-filezone 
.com) and @Backup (www 
. @backup.com ) provide Internet- 
based data backup services, with 
pricing based on total storage 
used. Current prices for storing up 
to 100MB of data are $9.99 a 
month with Atrieva and $99 a 
year with @Backup. Both compa- 
nies also let you try their services 
at no cost, via 10MB free storage 
with Atrieva and a 30-day free 
period with @Backup. 

With your data backed up 
remotely, you can recover quick- 
ly from PC or office disasters by 
logging onto the Internet from 
any new location to access your 
data. If the weather report for 
the next day is threatening, you 
can even prepare to work at 
home by backing up your most 
recent work files to the 
Internet .— Bruce Brown 

Choose Your Auto- 
Search Provider in IE5 

With Internet Explorer 4, if I typed 
keywords in the Address toolbar and 
pressed Enter, IE would automati- 
cally launch the search engine of my 
choice. That option doesn’t work 
the same under IE5, and its default 
search engine is just not my fa- 
vorite. After tinkering a bit, I found 
out that in IE5, the customization is 
in the Search bar. Just click the 
Search icon on the toolbar, then 
click the Customize button when 
the Search bar appears. 

Frederick Michael Ouano 
Houston, Texas 


FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 105 


PC MAGAZINE’S COMMUNITY OF EXPERTS AND READERS 





HP Kayak XM600 PC Workstations: Up to two Intel® Pentium® III processors 733 MHz. Monitor not included. 
Intel, Intel Inside Logo and Pentium are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. ©2000 Hewlett-Packard Company. All rights reserved. 






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USER 


INTERNET SOLUTIONS 


S E R 


In the Customize Search Settings 
dialog, you can check Use one 
search service for all searches and 
then choose your favorite from a 
list. You can get even better 
results, however, by checking Use 
the Search Assistant for smart 
searching and then customizing 
the Search Assistant. You can 
specify which services will be 
used for specific search types 
(Web, e-mail, business) and in 
what order. If you tune the Search 
Assistant to your own preferences 
it can be quite useful. 

Be warned: Your favorite search 
service may not be present. For 
example, Northern Light is there 
but disabled by default, and 
HotBot isn’t available at all.— NJR 

Beef Up Your Browsing 

Customized Explorer Bars used 
with Internet Explorer 5.0 add 
value and content to Web surfing. 
Explorer Bars are small windows 
that can be opened within Inter- 
net Explorer 5.0 to display spe- 
cialized information while leaving 
most of the display free for 
browsing. Explorer Bar display 
characteristics vary. Some display 
horizontally only; others can 
display horizontally or vertically. 

Five Explorer Bars that can be 
downloaded from Microsoft 
( www. microsoft. com/windows 
/ lE/webaccess ) are Surf Monkey, 
a kid-safe Web-surfing utility; 
Alexa, which displays site-specific 
information, such as contact 
information and links, for the Web 
site currently active in your 
browser; The New York Times, for 
news updates every 10 minutes 
plus market information and 
stock quotes; AltaVista, for Alta- 
Vista Power Tools including 
Search, Translate, and Tracker; 
and Bloomberg, for stock quotes 
and business news. 

Once you’ve downloaded an 
Explorer Bar from the Microsoft 
Web site and restarted Internet 
Explorer, you can activate the 
Explorer Bar by selecting View \ 
Explorer Bar and then clicking 
on the Explorer Bar of your 
choice.— SB 

www.pcmag.com/solutions 

Your online tip source 



like the one you just typed. In the future, it can 
check your previous entries and list sugges- 
tions as you type. Would you like to turn Auto- 
Complete on? Chances are good that you an- 
swered Yes, thereby turning on AutoComplete 
for forms. 

When you log onto a password-protected 
Web page, IE5 will ask Do 
you want Windows to re- 
member this password, so 
that you don’t have to type 
it again the next time you 
visit this page? You can 
check a box telling it not 
to make this offer again; 
doing so disables Auto- 
Complete for passwords. 

Full control of Auto- 
Complete comes through 
the Internet Options dia- 
log. Launch it from the 
Control Panel or by 
choosing Internet Options 
from IE5 ’s Tools menu. 

Click the Content tab and 
locate the Personal infor- 
mation panel. Within this 
panel, click on the Auto- 
Complete... button to bring 
up the AutoComplete Set- 
tings dialog (see Figure 2). 

The boxes in the Use 
AutoComplete for panel de- 
termine which AutoCom- 
plete features are enabled. 

Most users will check Web 
addresses and Forms but 
leave User names and pass- 
words on forms blank. If 
you do enable AutoCom- 
plete for passwords, be 
sure to check the Prompt 
me to save passwords box 
as well. 

When you disable Auto- 
Complete for forms or 
passwords, you cause IE5 to stop gathering that 
particular type of AutoComplete data. However, 
the existing data is not removed until you ex- 
plicitly delete it. Click Clear Forms and Clear 
Passwords to delete the stored AutoComplete 
data for those two areas. The AutoComplete for 
Web addresses uses IEs’s History list, so the only 
way to clear that data is to click on the General 
tab and click the Clear History button. 

HOW SAFE IS AUTOCOMPLETE? 

Watching AutoComplete in action is scary. 
Your computer is connected to the Internet, 
and your private information is popping up in 
the AutoComplete window. What’s to stop a 
hacker from stealing your personal data? Could 


a malicious Webmaster add hidden fields to a 
form and grab data without your knowledge? 
Fortunately, the answer is no. When not in use, 
the AutoComplete data is stored in the Registry 
in secure, encrypted form. Under Windows 95 
or Windows 98, it’s possible to view the inter- 
nal field names for which AutoComplete data 
exists (Figure 3); under 
Windows NT 4.0, even 
that information is inac- 
cessible. The list of 
items displayed in the 
drop-down AutoCom- 
plete list is completely 
unavailable to a Web 
page. Only when you 
make a selection from 
the list does it become 
accessible via script or 
HTML, in exactly the 
same way as if you had 
typed the data by hand. 
The AutoComplete fea- 
ture is designed to be 
completely safe from at- 
tack via the Internet. 

On the other hand, 
anybody who uses your 
computer can access 
your AutoComplete data. 
If you’ve also configured 
dial-up networking to re- 
member your password, 
that person can log onto 
the Internet and do a lit- 
tle shopping. When it’s 
time to enter a credit 
card number, all he 
needs to do is press the 
Down Arrow and pick 
one. And if you’ve left 
AutoComplete for pass- 
words enabled, he will 
be able to visit your 
password-protected sites 
as well. That’s scary! 

AutoComplete data is stored on a per-user 
basis, so if you’re not logged in, your Auto- 
Complete data should be safe. Log off any time 
you step away from your desk, use a password 
that isn’t easily guessed, or keep the computer 
in a locked office. The danger in using Auto- 
Complete doesn’t come from the Internet; it 
comes from the next cubicle. 

Further reading: If you’d like to learn a bit 
more about IE5’s AutoComplete features, read 
Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article Q217148, at 
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/ 
articles/Q2iy/i/48ASP. 


Neil J. Rubenking is the contributing technical 
editor of PC Magazine. 



FIGURE 2: The AutoComplete Settings 
dialog controls IE5’s AutoComplete features 
and lets you clear stored data. 



FIGURE 3: Though you wouldn't know it, 
this encrypted data represents the same 
AutoComplete list shown in Figure 1. 


108 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 







pentium 



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OFFICE SOLUTIONS 


SER 


Speed Up Symbol Entry 

Word offers a dialog for entering foreign characters and symbols, but 
there’s an easier way. By M. David Stone 


M ost Microsoft Word users know that 
they can enter foreign-language 
characters, such as E, E, A, i, and (J, 
as well as symbols like 6, ®, and ™, using the 
Insert \ Symbol command. But entering anything 
more than an occasional character with this fea- 
ture quickly becomes tiresome. And the more 
installed fonts you have, the longer the Insert \ 
Symbol dialog (Figure i) takes to appear. 

You may not be aware that 
there’s a surprisingly easy way to 
enter these characters. Although it 
seems to be one of Microsoft’s best- 
kept secrets, the default installation 
of Word offers a number of shortcut 
keys for entering the most common 
symbols and non-English charac- 
ters. Next time you’re sitting in 
front of your computer with Word 
loaded, try typing Ctrl-/ (that’s Ctrl 
plus the slash character) followed 
by a lowercase c. Word will insert a 
cent symbol, <£. (All the keyboard 
shortcuts mentioned here work in 
Word 7, Word 97, and Word 2000.) 

Similarly, Ctrl-' (open quote) fol- 
lowed by the letters a, e, i, o, or u, in uppercase or 
lowercase, will insert the letter with a grave ac- 
cent (falling left to right), and Ctrl-’ (apostrophe) 
followed by any of the same letters (and y) will 
insert the letter with an acute accent (rising 
left to right). 


FOREIGN-CHARACTER ENTRY 

For 

Enter 

a, d, i, 6, 11 , 
A, £, 1, 6,0 

Ctrl-' (open quote), then the letter 

&, e, \, 6, ti, y, 
A, 1 1 6, 0, Y 

Ctrl-’ (apostrophe), then the letter 

a, e, ?, 6, 0, 

a, e, r, 6 , 0 

Ctrl-Shift- A (circumflex), then the letter 

a, e, 1 , d, 0, y, 
A, E,T,0, 0, Y 

Ctrl-Shift-: (colon), then the letter 

a, A 

Ctrl-Shift-d> (at sign), a or A 

ae,/E 

Ctrl-Shift-& (ampersand), a or A 

a, n, 5, 
A, no 

Ctrl-Shift- (tilde), then the letter 


Ctrl-, (comma), c or C 

d, D 

Ctrl-’ (apostrophe), d or D 

0 , 0 

Ctrl-/ (slash), 0 or 0 

ce, (E 

Ctrl-Shift-& (ampersand), 0 or 0 

s, S Ctrl-Alt-Shift- A (circumflex), s or S 

6 

Ctrl-Shift-& (ampersand), s 


Ctrl-Alt-Shift-? (question mark) 

| i Ctrl-Alt-Shift-! (exclamation point) 


FIGURE 2: European-language characters avail- 
able through Word shortcut keys. 


Other key combinations enter specific char- 
acters with circumflexes (Ctrl-Shift- A ); tildes 
(Ctrl-Shift — ); umlauts (Ctrl-Shift-:); and rings 
(Ctrl-Shift-@, only for use with A or a). Figure 
2 shows a complete list of the key combinations 
for non-English language characters. 

Also well hidden in Word are a number of 
shortcut keys for common symbols. We’ve al- 
ready mentioned Ctrl-/, c for the cent symbol, 


4\ Other shortcut keys and key combinations in- 
clude: Alt-Ctrl-t for the trademark symbol, ™; 
Alt-Ctrl-r for a registered trademark symbol, ®; 
and Alt-Ctrl-c for a copyright symbol, ©. Figure 
3 shows the key combinations as shipped for 
these, and a few other common symbols and 
punctuation marks. As you may have noticed, 
most of the foreign-language characters and 
some of the common symbols in Figures 2 and 
3 use a technique sometimes referred to as a 
dead key. That is, you first type one key combi- 
nation, such as Ctrl- ' (open quote), without in- 
serting a character into your text. It’s only after 
you type the next character — such as an a, e, i, 
o, or u — that Word inserts a character. And if 
the next character you type isn’t one of the 
characters defined to follow the first combina- 
tion, nothing is inserted. 

In truth, however, this dead-key strategy hides 
the fact that these are simply standard Word 
shortcut keys. Word lets you define shortcut key 
combinations that include two keystrokes. Each 
of the dead key combinations is simply a short- 
cut key defined with two keystrokes. This means 
that if you find any of these shortcuts hard to re- 
member, you can redefine them to taste. 

For example, you may find that most of the 
shortcut keys in Figure 2 are easy to remember, 



FIGURE 1: The standard way to enter symbols and foreign 
characters is through this dialog box. 


(/> 

m 


Unique Counting in 
Excel 

Many of the items in one column 
(Facility Names ) of my spreadsheet 
are repeated, or nonunique. Another 
column lists the Facility Type Code 
(for example, A, or B, or 0). I want to 
count the number of unique facility 
names that have the code A. I can’t 
use DCOUNTA, as I get a count of all 
the facilities in the column with a 
code of A. I only want to count each 
specific facility with an A one time, 
but it may appear several times. 

COUNTI F does not work. Do you 
have any suggestions? 

TERRI JARUS 
St. Louis, Missouri 

You could use Excel’s Advanced 
Filter command to copy unique 
records into a different section of 
your worksheet. Then you could 
use COUNTA to tally up the number 
of unique records that appear. 

Advanced Filter requires that 
you set up a criterion range in a 
section of your worksheet sepa- 
rate from the input data. In your 
case, to get all the records with 
code A , your criterion range 
would consist of two cells, and 
look like this: 

Facility Type Code 
A 

The first of these cells must 
exactly match the corresponding 
column heading in your input 
range. 

To copy unique records that 
meet this criterion, you would 
select two options in the Ad- 
vanced Filter dialog box: " Copy to 
another location ” and “Unique 
records only”— Craig Stinson 

WordArt Colors 

I created a really dramatic headline 
using the WordArt tool in Microsoft 
Publisher 2000. But I have discov- 
ered that the color choices in Word- 
Art don’t match the color choices in 
the main program. How can I get 
my WordArt design to match the 
color scheme in the rest of my 
publication? 

Nancy Warrens 
Concord, Massachusetts 

The WordArt module, which is 
really an OLE application, was not 

FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 111 



PC MAGAZINE’S COMMUNITY OF EXPERTS AND READERS 






USER 


U 3 £ K 


OFFICE SOLUTIONS 


upgraded along with Publisher 
2000. As a result, the more so- 
phisticated color options found in 
Publisher, including RGB, CMYK, and 
Pantone colors, are simply not 
available within WordArt itself. 

Both Publisher 98 and Publisher 
2000, however, contain a nifty 
feature that can recolor the Word- 
Art object. To use this feature, you 
must first exit WordArt— just click 
outside the WordArt frame to 
return to Publisher. Then single- 
click the WordArt object and 
choose the Recolor Object com- 
mand on the Format menu. You 
can assign any color, tint, or shade 
to the object, using any color 
model that Publisher supports. 

The WordArt object is still 
completely editable; just double- 
click it to invoke the WordArt 
module again. The color will 
revert to the old, incorrect shade 
while you are working in the 
WordArt module. Don’t worry: 
When you exit WordArt, the new 
color you’ve chosen will be re- 
stored.— Luisa Simone 


SYMBOL ENTRY 

For 

Enter 


Ctrl-/ (slash), c 

© 

Ctrl-Alt-c 

® 

Ctrl-Alt-r 

Ctrl-Alt-t 

... (ellipsis) 

Ctrl-Alt-. (period) 

- (em dash) 

Ctrl-Alt — (minus on the numeric keypad) 

- (en dash) 

Ctrl— (minus on the numeric keypad) 

« 

Ctrl-' (open quote), < (left angle bracket) 

- 

Ctrl-' (open quote), > (right angle bracket) 


FIGURE 3: Common symbols available through 
Word shortcut keys. 


but you may like to change a couple. Perhaps 
it’s easier for you to remember the combina- 
tion Ctrl-Shift-” (quotation marks) for an um- 
laut dead key rather than Ctrl-Shift-: (colon). 
Similarly, it might be easier to remember Ctrl- 
Shift-o for the ring symbol than Ctrl-Shift @. 
Fortunately, it’s easy to add these substitute 
shortcuts in Word. 

To add alternative shortcut keys, choose 
Tools | Customize, then Keyboard ( Keyboard is a 
tab in Word 7, but a button in Word 97 and 
Word 2000). In the Categories list, highlight 
Common Symbols.Then , in the Common Sym- 
bols list, find each symbol for which you want 
to add a new shortcut. In the Press New Short- 


cut Key text box, type the shortcut key combi- 
nation you want to use (Ctrl-Shift-”, then e for 
e) and choose Assign to add the shortcut key. 

If you find shortcut keys hard to remember, 
you can get the same results by defining the 
various common symbols as AutoText or 
AutoCorrect entries. In either case, you have 
to define an abbreviation, such as ' e for e or (r) 
for ®. (Word comes with (r) already defined as 
an AutoCorrect abbreviation for ®.) The dif- 
ference between the two is that AutoCorrect 
entries automatically convert the abbreviation 
to the character symbol, but for AutoText en- 
tries you have to type the abbreviation and then 
hit F3 to convert it to the character or symbol. 
In either case, you can use any abbreviation you 
like, no matter how many characters you need 
to make the abbreviation easy to remember. 

Unicode support in Word 97 and Word 2000 
makes many more symbols and non-English 
characters available in such fonts as Arial Uni- 
code. You can attach any of these characters to 
shortcut keys or insert them as AutoText or 
AutoCorrect entries. This hint should be enough 
to get you started using shortcuts, AutoText, and 
AutoCorrect for more convenient symbol entry. 


M. David Stone is a contributing editor of PC 
Magazine. 


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DESKTOP SOLUTIONS 


USER 


Rescue Your System 

An emergency start-up disk is vital for recovering from system crashes, 
but it can’t help if you don’t have it. By Neil Randall 


D o you know where your emergency 
start-up disk is? Could you get at it with- 
out digging through piles of floppy 
disks? Or through the desk drawer that’s 
crammed with manuals and disks and CDs and 
cables? Is it even labeled in any informative way? 

If the answer is yes to all these questions, you 
have our admiration. But for many users, the 
ESD is a forgotten item if it was created at all. 
When installing Windows 98, the setup pro- 
gram prompts you to create the ESD, but you 
can simply skip the process. If you haven’t 
already created one, do 
yourself a favor and make 
one now, using the 
Add/Remove Programs 
tool in Control Panel (see 
Figure 1). Label the disk 
and put it somewhere you 
can find it. 

The ESD has one prima- 
ry function: If you ever 
find yourself unable to 
load Windows 98 (and it 
can happen easily), put the 
ESD in the floppy disk 
drive and reboot. You’ll 
end up at a command prompt, and from there 
you can run Windows, use utilities, edit the 
Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files, and more. 
The point is that even though you can’t get into 
Windows 98’s GUI, you can run the basics in 
order to attempt to repair your system. 

The ESD isn’t a new idea for Windows. Win- 
dows 95 had one, and in the Windows 3. x days, 
most users had a DOS bootup disk for a variety 
of reasons. But the Windows 98 ESD is the most 
useful, because it includes files you need to do 
any serious work toward getting the OS to work 
properly. Let’s take a look at what’s on the ESD. 

THE BIG FIVE 

DOS users won’t be surprised by the three most 
important files on the ESD: Io.sys, Msdos.sys, and 
Command.com. These were the basis of all DOS 
systems, and were singlehandedly responsible 
for allowing DOS to run. That hasn’t changed, 
not even with the release of Windows 98 Second 
Edition: Look in the root directory of your boot 
drive and you’ll see Command.com; look at the 
hidden Files — either via Folder Options or by typ- 
ing dir /ah at the command line — and you’ll 
find Io.sys and Msdos.sys. The ESD is designed 
to let you boot straight into command mode; like 


the same option in the Windows 95/98 start-up 
menu (available by pressing F8 before you see 
the Windows splash screen), the ESD dispenses 
with loading the GUI itself. 

The other two files instantly recognizable to 
DOS users are Config.sys and Autoexec.bat. In 
DOS, these were the files that specified the pro- 
grams, environment variables, and device dri- 
vers to load on start-up. The same files can start 
your Windows 98 system. Unlike DOS systems, 
which stored these files in the root directory of 
the boot drive, Windows stores them in the 
command directory of 
your Windows folder, 
and they’re not necessary 
for Windows to load at 
all unless you’re running 
16-bit devices (real-mode 
devices instead of Win- 
dows’ virtual devices). 
On the Windows 98 ESD, 
these files regain their 
status as important start- 
up files, holding the same 
information as they did 
before. 

ACCESSING THE CD-ROM DRIVE 

The Windows 98 ESD differs from the Win- 
dows 95 ESD in one crucial way: It solves the 
problem experienced by many users of not 
being able to use the CD-ROM drive after an ESD 
start-up. If you’re using the ESD in the first 
place, chances are fairly good that you’re going 
to want to reinstall Windows. Because Win- 
dows shipped primarily on CD-ROM, access to 
the drive was essential. For a CD-ROM unit to be 
available on a DOS system, the Config.sys file 
must specify where the device driver for the 
CD-ROM drive is located and then load that de- 
vice driver into memory. The Autoexec.bat file 
has to tell DOS to run a program called 
Mscdex.exe (short for Microsoft CD Exten- 
sions). After this, the CD drive is assigned a 
drive letter and users can access it. 

The Windows 95 ESD, however, did not con- 
tain either the device driver or Mscdex.exe. 
When installed over a Windows 3.x system, 
Windows 95 adopted the existing Config.sys 
and Autoexec.bat files, and if a CD-ROM unit 
was functioning under Windows 3.1, it would 
also function under Windows 95. Unfortunate- 
ly, when Windows 95 created an ESD, it copied 
the start-up files but did not copy the actual 


rd/Removo Prodrams Properties; 


Instati/Uniratall | Windows Setup Startup Disk j 

J ;sflj 1 If you have trouble starting Windows 98. you can use a 

r } startup drsk to start your computer, run diagnostic 

programs, and fix marry problems. 

T o create a startup disk, click Create Disk. You wiB need 
one floppy disk. 


Create Disk... 


FIGURE 1: You can make an emergency 
start-up disk by opening the Add/Remove 
Programs utility from Control Panel and 
selecting the Startup Disk tab. 


</> 

m 


Clean Up the 
Documents Menu 

The Taskbar Properties menu lets 
me get rid of all the documents that 
I can see when I click Start | Docu- 
ments. What if I want to get rid of 
only some of the documents but not 
all of them? 

J. Hartfield 
via the Internet 

The Start \ Documents menu 
contains shortcuts to the most 
recently used documents. These 
shortcuts are stored in a folder 
called Recent, a subdirectory of 
the main Windows folder (usual- 
ly C:\Windows\Recent). This is a 
hidden folder, so you have to 
unhide it to work with it. Do so 
by opening the My Computer 
folder, selecting View \ Folder 
Options, then clicking on the 
View tab. 

In the Advanced setting list, 
you’ll see a heading called Hid- 
den Files. Select the Show All 
Files radio button and click OK 
twice. When you’re done, use My 
Computer or Windows Explorer 
to go to the C:\Windows\Recent 
folder. There, you can delete any 
shortcuts you want, and they’ll 
no longer appear in the Docu- 
ments menu. — NR 

Suppressing Start-Up 
Logos 

How can I boot my computer direct- 
ly to the desktop? I’d like to eliminate 
the logos of the manufacturer and 
Microsoft, and cut the time spent 
waiting for these logos to display. 

Ray Schoen 
Cleveland, Ohio 

You may be able to suppress the 
manufacturer’s logo by pressing 
Esc during boot-up and invoking 
the BIOS setup program. The 
manufacturer’s logo generally 
displays during the Power On Self- 
Test, so it doesn’t actually waste 
any time. 

To suppress the animated 
Microsoft logo bitmap, open an 
MS-DOS prompt and enter C : , then 
CD \. Type ATTRIB -R -S -H 
MSDOS.SYS, then enter Notepad 
MSDOS.SYS. When the file opens in 
Notepad, find the line [Options] 

FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 113 



PC MAGAZINE’S COMMUNITY OF EXPERTS AND READERS 



USER 


and insert Logo=0 right after 
[Options]. If you find a line that 
says Logo=l , delete it. Now save 
the file and exit Notepad. Finally, 
enter ATTRIB +R +S +H 
MSDOS.SYS. 


The Microsoft logo bitmap is 
displayed only while Windows is 
loading; removing it won’t make 
Windows load faster. You can use 
PC Magazine's free LogoMania 
utility ( www.pcmag.com/pctech 
/content/16/06/utl606.001.html ) 
to create an animated logo of your 
own and install it according to the 
instructions in LogoMania’s help 
files. — Neil J. Ruben king 


Keeping NumLock On 
in Windows NT 

My CMOS is set to turn NumLock on; 

I have triple-checked it. The CMOS 
does so, but when Windows NT 
starts loading, it turns NumLock off. 
I’ve asked several tech-support hot 
lines and no one can seem to figure 
out how to stop this from happen- 
ing. Can you help? 

CARLIE Marraro 
Los Angeles 


Microsoft’s Knowledge Base has 
several articles about this prob- 
lem. Windows NT is supposed to 
remember the NumLock state 
when you log off and restore it 
when you log on. In the Registry 
key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control 
Panel \Keyboard, if the value 
InltlalKeyboardlndlcators is 
2 , NumLock is turned on. If that 
value is 0 . NumLock is turned off. 

In Windows NT 3.5, the Num- 
Lock state isn’t saved if you log 
off via Program Manager. The 
solution is to log off using Ctrl- 
Alt-Del. As explained in MSKB 
article Q123498, this problem 
was fixed in Windows NT 3.51. 

Windows NT 4.0 has a different 
problem: The NumLock state is 
saved only if you’re logged in as 
an administrator. The article at 
http://support.microsoft.com/ 
support/kb/articles/q231/9/44 
.asp supplies a fix. Another MSKB 
article suggests simply changing 
the Registry value Initial Key- 
boardlndicators from 0 to 2. If 
you’re comfortable editing the 
Registry, that’s the simplest 
solution.— NJR 

114 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


DESKTOP SOLUTIONS 


CD-ROM device driver. Typically, the Config.sys 
file would direct Windows 95 to a separate sub- 
directory to find the driver, and this subdirec- 
tory would not be copied to the ESD. As a re- 
sult, the device driver did not load, and the CD 
was invisible to the operating system. Even if a 
user copied Mscdex.exe to the ESD, it still did 
no good, because Mscdex.exe depended for its 
operation on the device driver being loaded 
into memory. If you couldn’t access your hard 
disk at all, or if you deleted Windows com- 
pletely for the purpose of reinstalling from 
scratch, unless you remembered to copy the 
CD-ROM driver to the ESD you couldn’t access 
the CD-ROM unit, and so you couldn’t install 
Windows from a CD. 

Windows 98 corrects the problem of CD- 
ROM access by including real-mode CD-ROM de- 
vice drivers on the ESD itself. These driver files 
are Aspicd.sys, Oakcdrom.sys, Btcdrom 
.sys, and Flashpt.sys, and together they allow 
the majority of CD-ROM drives to function. (Just 
to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to copy 
your current driver to your ESD and edit the 
Config.sys file to point to it.) The ESD’s default 
Config.sys file loads these drivers into memory. 
The DOS program mscdex.exe is not on the ESD 
per se, but it is contained in the file called 
ESD.cab, which is on the disk. The ESD’s Auto- 
exec.bat file establishes a RAM disk (a virtual 
disk drive contained entirely in system memo- 
ry), then extracts the Mscdex.exe file from the 
ESD.cab file, loads Mscdex.exe onto the RAM 
disk, and launches it. Once in memory, 
Mscdex.exe combines with the CD-ROM driver 
to allow access to the CD. 


UTILITIES AND OTHER FILES 

In addition to start-up files and files for access- 
ing the CD-ROM, the Windows 98 ESD contains 
other utilities and system files previously avail- 
able in DOS. Fdisk.exe lets you repartition your 
hard disk. Setramd.bat establishes the RAM disk 
and allows you to extract a variety of files from 
ESD.cab and store them in the RAM disk. These 
include Format.com, used to format floppy and 
hard disks; Help.bat, which gives you online 
help; Chkdsk.exe, the old DOS program for 
checking disks for errors; Scandisk.exe, the 
newer version of Chkdsk; Sys.com, to copy the 
operating system (the files Io.sys, Msdos.sys, 
and Command.com) to another drive; edit.com, 
a text editor used here primarily for editing the 
contents of Config.sys and Autoexec.bat; and 
Attrib.exe, for changing the attributes of a spe- 
cific file. Together with the operating system 
and the configuration files, these comprise pret- 
ty much all you need to get the computer up 
and running. 

The Windows 98 ESD is an indispensible tool 
simply because Win 98 is not flawless. It crash- 
es, and at some point, it may well leave your 
computer unable to boot. The ESD is also useful 
if you wish to perform some DOS-based file spe- 
cial functions such as partitioning or formatting 
hard disks, changing file attributes, or examin- 
ing directories, without waiting for the entire 
GUI to load. Whatever the case, this is as good a 
time as any to make one. 


Neil Randall is a contributing editor of PC Maga- 
zine and is the coauthor of Special Edition Using 
Microsoft FrontPage 2000 (Que). 


USING THE ESD 


W hat will you typically do from the 
emergency start-up disk? 

• Install a clean copy of Windows. 
If Windows 98 is giving you a number of 
problems, your best bet may well be to sim- 
ply start over. Insert your Windows disk into 
your CD drive (typically D:) and type 
SETUP. When you’re asked for a folder in 
which to install Windows, don’t accept the 
default (which is probably your current Win- 
dows folder, usually C: \WINDOWS). Type a new 
folder (such as C: \WIN98) and go from there. 
Note that if you do a clean install, however, 
you’ll have to reinstall all your applications, 
such as Microsoft Office, as well. 

• Reformat your hard disk. You can clean 
everything off of your hard disk by using the 
FORMAT command on the ESD. This is some- 
times a good idea, because various important 
files can become corrupted and starting over 
may be easier than figuring out what’s wrong. 


• Repartition your hard disk. You can use 

FDISK to divide your hard disk into different 
partitions. This is most useful for installing 
additional operating systems. 

• Extract a file from the Windows CD-ROM. 
If you know that a specific file installed by 
Windows has disappeared from the hard disk 
or become corrupted, you can use the EXTRACT 
command to restore that file. This is espe- 
cially useful if Windows stops while loading 
and tells you that it’s missing a file. 

• Check your hard disk for errors. The ESD 
contains two programs, SCANDISK, and the 
older CHKDSK, to let you check the integrity of 
your drives and repair problems. 

• Work with new hard disks. If you’ve 
installed a second hard disk, you can parti- 
tion and format it using the ESD. You can do 
so from within Windows itself, but the ESD 
loads more quickly and formatting tends to 
be faster. 




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HARDWARE SOLUTIONS 


Break the CPU Speed Limit 

Overclocking is one way to get better performance from your machine, 
but there are risks. By Neil Randall 


Y our CPU may be an underachiever on a 
fundamental hardware level, but there 
may be something you can do about it. 
That Celeron/366 may actually be able to run at 
over 400 MHz, and possibly even up to 550 
MHz! Your PIl/300 could be speeding along at 
450 MHz. And you may be able to accomplish 
the performance jump without shelling out for 
new hardware or software. 

That’s what overclocking is all about. Over- 
clocking is a term most readers of computer 
magazines have heard, and you may have even 
heard that it’s a near-underground activity. Less 
clear is exactly what takes place 
during overclocking, and what 
results. Basically, overclocking is 
a process in which you adjust 
two configuration settings relat- 
ed to your CPU (microprocesor), 
and if everything works out, you’ll 
end up with a faster processor. 

But it doesn’t always work, and it 
is not without risks. 



Overclocking your 
CPU can damage it. PC 
Magazine does not rec- 
ommend this practice; 
we merely wish to let 
you know of the possi- 
bility. If you attempt 
overclocking, you do so 
entirely at your own 
risk. Our advice is to try 
it on an old, little-used 
computer rather than 
on your main system. 

So why is overclocking appealing? Because the 
speed rating that the CPU manufacturer supplies 
is a conservative one. The manufacturer pro- 
duces batches of CPUs (of a specific type) and as- 
signs the speed ratings only in postmanufactur- 
ing testing. The testing simulates the worst 
conditions the chip is expected to endure. The 
Pentium 150 you had in your old machine was 
likely manufactured to be a P/166. But torture 
testing at 166 MHz produced flaws, while testing 
at 150 MHz did not. Hence, it was rated at 150 
MHz to be on the safe side. 

In other words, the processor inside your 
computer has had the brakes applied. By over- 
clocking the CPU, you can let it reach its greater 
potential. And (often) with no extra costs 
involved. 

The speed of a CPU is determined by two 


CLOCK AND BUS SETTINGS 


variable measurements: the setting of the clock 
multiplier (the CPU clock speed), and the speed 
of the front-side bus. Also called the system bus, 
the front-side bus lets the CPU communicate 
with peripherals and main memory, while the 
back-side bus is responsible for communication 
with the CPU’s secondary (L2) cache. Multiply- 
ing the clock multiplier setting by the front-side 
bus speed gives you the speed of the CPU. Over- 
clocking is the process of changing either the 
multiplier or the front-side bus speed and there- 
fore changing the speed of the processor. 

BEFORE STARTING 

The two most important con- 
siderations when overclocking 
are the motherboard and the 
CPU. The motherboard con- 
tains the jumper or switch 
necessary to change the clock 
multiplier and front-side bus 
speeds. You’ll need your 
motherboard manual 
(often online at your 
system manufacturer’s 
Web site) to deter- 
mine how to adjust 
these; the methods dif- 
fer from system to sys- 
tem. But there are 
some motherboards 
that don’t provide this 
capability. 

Typically, however, 
overclocking is a mat- 
ter of changing the pin 
covered by the jumper, or changing the on/off 
status of a set of switches. As for the CPU, the 
primary issue is whether or not it has already 
been overclocked. If you bought your CPU inde- 
pendently of the computer (especially if you 
bought it used), or if you’re not sure of the trust- 
worthiness of the store that sold you your sys- 
tem, check the CPU. One way to tell if a CPU has 
already been overclocked is to look for a peel-off 
sticker on the chip giving the CPU’s speed. But 
you may need to get your hands on some testing 
software to determine if overclocking has al- 
ready occurred. 

Some motherboards (especially jumperless 
ones) let you control all these settings through 
the BIOS. A section of BIOS settings called CPU 
Softmenu, included on motherboards manufac- 
tured by ABIT ( www.abit.com ), is the most use- 


Multiplier 

Bus speed 

CPU speed 

4 

66 MHz 

266 MHz 

4.5 

66 MHz 

300 MHz 

4.5 

75 MHz 

338 MHz 

5.5 

66 MHz 

366 MHz 

6 

66 MHz 

400 MHz 

4 

100 MHz 

400 MHz 

4 

112 MHz 

448 MHz 

4.5 

100 MHz 

450 MHz 

5.5 

83 MHZ 

457 MHz 

4.5 

112 MHz 

504 MHz 

6 

100 MHz 

600 MHz 




Is This Thing On? 

The other day, my microphone 
suddenly quit working. I have tried 
different applications, reinstalled 
the sound card driver, and even 
removed and reinstalled the sound 
card. I have double-checked the vol- 
ume controls, and the microphone 
works fine on another computer. All 
other sound card functions seem to 
be okay. What could be the problem, 
and how do I check? 

CHERYL CUTRIGHT 
via the Internet 

There are two leading suspects. 

The problem is either the physical 
jack on the sound card or the 
microphone input circuitry on the 
card itself. 

If you have an ohmmeter or con- 
tinuity tester, take out the board 
and test the microphone jack con- 
nections to see whether one of 
them is broken. Also, insert a plug 
and see that it makes a good con- 
nection with the jack’s contacts. If 
the problem is the jack — and 
you’re competent with a soldering 
iron — then you can try to find a 
replacement jack and swap it your- 
self. Whether the time and effort 
are less costly than buying a re- 
placement sound card is up to you. 

If the jack checks out okay, 
then the problem is almost cer- 
tainly in a component on the card. 

It is entirely possible for one por- 
tion of a sound card to fail with- 
out affecting the rest of the card’s 
operations. To make sure, you can 
try a different sound card in your 
system. If the problem disap- 
pears, your best bet is to replace 
the old card —Alfred Poor 

Fax Modems and DSL 

I am getting a DSL connection and I 
want to know whether I will be 
able to use a fax modem on the 
same line. 

Keith Smith 
via the Internet 

DSL is a digital connection (avail- 
able in some areas) that sends and 
receives digital data on an exist- 
ing, standard, voice telephone line. 

In addition to offering constant 
high-speed connections to the 
Internet, DSL also supports simul- 

FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 117 



PC MAGAZINE’S COMMUNITY OF EXPERTS AND READERS 



HARDWARE SOLUTIONS 


taneous use of the same line for 
standard voice calls. Fax transmis- 
sions are analog transmissions — 
as are standard modem transmis- 
sions— designed to work in the 
same way as voice signals. As a 
result, you should have no prob- 
lems sending or receiving faxes on 
the same line that carries your DSL 
connection .— AP 

Mouse or Trackball? 
How ’bout Both! 

I like to use both a mouse and a 
trackball at my computer. How can I 
easily switch between the two? 

M. CARLONE 
via the Internet 

You can install a Y-Mouse dual 
adapter from P.l. Engineering 
( www.ymouse.com ) to configure 
various pointing devices for 
greater flexibility and less strain. 
Two models, the Dual P/S2 Adapt- 
er and the Dual Serial Adapter 
(each $50 street) support mice, 
trackballs, and touch pads. 

You can use either adapter to 
connect two mice or a mouse and 
a touchpad, place them on either 
side of your computer, and switch 
between them as you navigate. 
Both adapters support a daisy- 
chain set up for connecting more 
than two pointing devices to a 
single computer. Individual users 
can gain flexibility by using Y- 
mouse dual adapters, and the 
products are also ideal for train- 
ing and gaming use. 

Switching pointing devices is a 
good idea, because overuse of a 
computer mouse can strain or 
injure muscles or tendons. It’s a 
good idea to check the position of 
your mouse periodically to be sure 
that you don’t have to reach too 
far to use it and that your wrist 
isn’t bent back. When using it, 
don’t hold it too tightly and take 
frequent breaks .— Bruce Brown 


How to Contact Us 

E-MAIL pctech@zd.com 
FAX 212-503-5799 

MAIL User to User, PC Magazine, 28 East 
28th Street, New York, NY 10016-7930 
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ful for overclocking procedures, but other BIOSs 
have them as well. If you have this capability, 
overclocking becomes much easier. 

The other major issue is cooling. The higher 
the CPU’s speed, the greater the heat it generates, 
and the greater the chance the system will crash. 
The little plastic fan that often ships with the 
computer might not be enough to handle the 
heat; you’ll need a more powerful cooling sys- 
tem, such as a large fan-and-heat-sink combina- 
tion (see the photo). Go to an electronics supply 
store to find one. 

Finally, there’s voltage. More speed requires 
more power. Your motherboard or your BIOS 
may let you adjust the core voltage of the CPU be- 
yond its default setting. But increasing voltage is 
not to be taken lightly. It can burn out your CPU. 
If you choose to increase voltage to provide more 
juice to the CPU, do so one setting at a time. 

Obviously, you want to overclock as a way to 
get something for nothing, so purchasing new 
motherboards and cooling systems isn’t some- 
thing you want to do right off the bat. Try a 
small overclock (increase the multiplier or the 
bus speed by the lowest possible amount). If it 
works, try a higher set of numbers. If you like 
the idea and you want to get serious about over- 
clocking, then purchase a motherboard that al- 
lows multiple settings and a cooling unit that 
will let you experi- 
ment fully. 

THE PROCEDURE 

Okay, you’re ready to 
try it. Start by deter- 
mining whether you 
can perform the 
overclocking through 
the BIOS or you have 
to work directly 
on the motherboard. 

Here, we’ll assume 
the latter, since it’s 
the most common 
scenario. Turn off the 
computer and unplug 
the power cord from 
the case, then open 
the case and grab 
your motherboard manual. From the manual, 
determine the location of the jumpers or switch- 
es that set the clock multiplier and bus speeds, 
and the jumper that controls the core voltage. 
Note all three settings on paper so you can reset 
them if necessary. 

Now, ground yourself by touching something 
metal (to avoid destroying the motherboard 
with a static shock) and then change the clock 
multiplier or the bus speed by adjusting the ap- 
propriate jumper or switch. Don’t change both 
settings at once; try one at a time, and then if 
everything’s okay, try either the next CPU mul- 


tiplier or bus speed setting. With the setting 
changed, plug in the power cord and try to boot 
the machine. If it gets as far as the BIOS setup 
(which will likely appear automatically), change 
the CPU’s settings in the BIOS, if you can, and 
then boot into Windows. 

If Windows loads properly, work with appli- 
cations for a while and see that all’s well. You 
might notice strange behavior, application crash- 
es, or even Windows crashes, in which case 
there’s a problem. Try a better cooling system 
and boot again, changing settings each time, until 
you arrive at a workable new clock speed. Note, 
however, that you might never do so, in which 
case your processor simply isn’t overclockable. 

THE RESULTS 

There are no set results you can expect. Every- 
thing depends on the individual CPU, the clock 
and bus settings you choose, whether the CPU 
allows you to change clock settings in the first 
place (the faster PIIs and all Pills have locked 
settings), and whether the bus speed can be set 
to produce a worthwhile effect. The 100-MHz 
bus, for example, can be changed to 112 MHz, 
but there may not be enough of a benefit to 
make doing so worthwhile. The table on the 
previous page shows the most common settings 
and their resulting CPU speeds. 


Ultimately, the question is whether over- 
clocking is worth the effort, but that’s a purely 
individual decision. Don’t expect the IT people 
in your company to approve of it, and indeed, 
don’t try it at work at all. But at home, over- 
clocking might well give an old computer some 
new life; and trying it makes sense, especially if 
you’re not using that old computer much any- 
way. Besides, despite the potential danger, over- 
clocking is just plain fun. 


Neil Randall is a contributing editor of PC 
Magazine. 


CRIB SHEET 


OVERCLOCKING RESOURCES 


■ You’ve overclocked successfully, you’ve enjoyed it because it feels as if 
you’ve gotten away with something, and now you're hooked. What’s next? 

■ There’s a ton of overclocking information on the Web. If you have a 
Celeron processor, for example, start with the Overclocking FAQ at 
www.ars-technica.com/paedia/celeron_oc_faq.html. 

■ Use the Web to find reviews of motherboards, cooling systems, and 
processor overclocking. An example is BXBoards at www.bxboards.com. 

■ Buy a motherboard that lets you specify all CPU parameters, including core 
voltage. ABIT and AOpen offer such boards. The review sites will help you. 

■ Learn everything you can about applying increased voltage levels. The 
sites will help, but you can also contact a reliable electronics supply store. 

■ Be sure to have an additional computer available so you can work even 
if bad things happen to your overclocked machine. If you’re working on an 
overclocked machine, set autosave settings in your applications to save 
frequently, and back up important files often. 

Refuse to overclock your friends’ and relatives’ computers, unless you want to 
become a full-time technical-support person. 


118 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



Adding graphics can help bring your ideas to life. 

Microsoft® PhotoDraw™ 2000 business graphics software is the easiest way to give your work a visual 
edge. This ali-in-one program has all the photo-editing and drawing tools you need to create more 
impressive Web sites, documents, and presentations. And because PhotoDraw 2000 was designed to 
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or PowerPoint® files. What’s more, PhotoDraw 2000 has a familiar Office interface, so it’s easy to use 
right out of the box.To find out more, visit www.microsoft.com/photodraw/go/ and order the trial CD. 

Microsoft 

Where do you want to go today?® 


V 


© 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Front Page, PhotoDraw, PowerPoint, the Office logo, and Where do you want to go today? are either registered trademarks ortrademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. 



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SOLUTIONS: PC MAGAZINE UTILITIES 


Instant File Information 

Get quick file information in ToolTips at the mouse pointer with FileTip. By Patrick Philippot 


W hen you park your mouse pointer over 
filenames in Microsoft Office, 
ToolTips pop up with pertinent file 
information. Wouldn’t it be nice to see such tips 
for other types of files on your PC? This issue’s 
utility, FileTip, is an extension to Microsoft Win- 
dows Explorer that does just that. FileTip works 
with file types including text files, executables, 
shortcuts, ZIP files, bitmaps, icons, animated cur- 
sors, AVI files, and HTML files. The tips will ap- 
pear for icons in any Explorer window, as well as 
those on the Desktop. 

Different types of information are provided for 
each file type. For example, the ZIP file ToolTip dis- 
plays the contents of the ZIP file, and the shortcut 
ToolTip gives the path to which the shortcut 


points. For program files, the ToolTip displays the 
version and comments. For text files, FileTip dis- 
plays the actual text in the file. A configuration util- 
ity lets you add extensions to different file types. 

FileTip runs under Windows 95, Windows 98, 
and Windows NT 4.0, and requires the Windows 
Desktop Update. It has also been tested with the 
latest beta version of Windows 2000. An article 
about how to use FileTip and how it was written 
is available on our Web site, at www.pcmag 
.com/utilities. A link to download the utility and 
its source code can also be found there. 


Patrick Philippot is a developer based in Draveil, 
France. Sheryl Canter is the editor of the Utilities col- 
umn and a contributing editor of PC Magazine. 


The programs presented in PC Magazine are copyrighted and can not be distributed, whether modified or unmodified. 
Use of the programs is subject to the terms and conditions of the license agreement distributed with the programs. 


HOW TO GET THE FILES 

PC Magazine utilities and other 
Solutions files are available on 
the Internet and by mail 

Via the Internet: Go to the PC 

Magazine home page at www 
.pcmag.com and click on Down- 
loads, or use our FTP server at 
ftp.zdnet.com/pcmag. 

Via Mail: You can request utilities 
by fax at 978-772-7133, or write to 
PC Magazine Utilities, c/o Image 
Software Services, 67 Buena Vista 
St., Ayer, MA 01432-5030. There is 
a limit of six disks per month. 
Support: To obtain help for PC 
Magazine’s free utilities, visit our 
online discussion area on the 
Internet ( www.pcmag.com/ 
utilities/support.html ). 



For zip archive 
files, FileTip 
displays infor- 
mation about 
the contents of 
the archive. The 
ZIP files shown 
here are dis- 
played in a 
single-pane 
Explorer window. 


Desktop icons 
are displayed 

after you click 
anywhere on the 
Desktop to make it 
the active window. 
Place the cursor 
over a shortcut and 
FileTip displays the 
path to which the 
shortcut points. 




Associate addi- 
tional extensions 

with a file type 
using this dialog 
box. By default, the 
text file type is 
associated with 
the file extension 
.txt. You may, for 
example, wish to 
associate .prn files 
with the text file 
type as well. 



For program and DLL files, FileTip will display 
version information along with the internal 
Comments field. 


FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 121 







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delivering a complete multi-monitor solution — from fast, reliable cards 
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©1999 Appian Graphics and HydraVision are trademarks or registered trademarks of Appian Graphics Corp. Microsoft, the Windows logo 
and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 


E-Mail Paranoia 


M y friend Susan once observed, “E-mail is 
like a postcard, not a letter.” And then she 
proceeded to convey her company’s se- 
crets and her innermost thoughts in her 
business and personal e-mail. We all 
know that e-mail is a highly insecure medium, but we 
choose to ignore that fact, figuring that nobody could be 
interested in our messages, much less find them in the 
colossal Niagara Falls of packets rushing over the Internet. 
I do it. Virtually everyone I know does it. And we’re wrong. 

Somebody is interested in your messages. Even para- 
noids have real enemies. But you don’t need someone in- 
tent on investigating you or settling some old score to have 
your e-mail snooped. More than a quarter of companies 
scan employee e-mail as a matter of course. (Don’t get out- 
raged; they’re generally within their legal rights, just as 
they can log and listen to your telephone conversations.) 
Employers are looking for trade secrets, non-work-related 
traffic, harassing messages, and conflicts of interest. Then, 
of course, there are bored-to-tears system administrators 
on the third shift, who start browsing the mail files for any- 
thing of interest — and sometimes someone gets an eyeful! 

Your messages are depressingly easy to find. Copies are 
laying about on the sending server, on the receiving serv- 
er, and in your ISP’s backup files— not to mention on your 
machine and the recipient’s machine. If you use a Web- 
based mail system, you’ve probably heard about (and ig- 
nored) the vulnerabilities of some of the largest services. 

Also, the vast majority of e-mails travel over the Inter- 
net as unencrypted plain text. Any hacker with the proper 
access, knowledge, and tools can trap your packets and 
read your messages. This is even easier on your office net- 
work: Putting the NIC into promiscuous mode allows it to 
watch all the packets going by. Capturing yours is a piece 
of cake. As I mentioned in my December i column, “How 
Do I Hack Thee?”, Lopht’s AntiSniff is a good way to de- 
tect unauthorized NICs in promiscuous mode. 

Some e-mail systems, such as Lotus Notes, are able to 
encrypt messages sent to other Notes servers, which keeps 
your corporate communications private. A simple click en- 
crypts the mail, and decryption is automatic for the recip- 
ient. The feature, however, often goes unused. Some read- 
§ ers tell me that each company is provided a master 
< decrypting key that opens all employee mail, but I have not 
1 substantiated this rumor. 

§ If you want to secure Outlook- or browser-based e-mail, 

I you generally have to obtain a certificate, which costs $10 or 


BILL MACHRONE 





$15 per year. The certificate has an encryption 
key for your e-mail and is maintained at a cen- 
tral authority. Users who want to decrypt your 
mail get an unlocking key from the certificate 
authority. The process is fairly automatic once 
you’ve signed up for a certificate. Once you’ve 
done this, you’ve entered the public key infra- 
structure, or PKI. Some security experts are con- 
cerned about vulnerabilities in central signing 
and certificate authorities. (For a detailed dis- 
cussion, see www.counterpane.com.) 

You can also secure most mail systems, 
including Lotus Notes, with Pretty Good 
Privacy ( www.nai.com ), a leading public-key/ 
private-key system. The common practice 
with PGP is to post your public key on your 
Web site and append the URL to all your mes- 
sages, so anyone who wants to send you an en- 
crypted message can do so. Unless you tell 
users where to look for your certificate or public key, they 
can’t send you encrypted mail. 

Although the process sounds straightforward, there are 
plenty of concepts, installation questions, and puzzling di- 
alog boxes that will confound the uninitiated user. The 
originating and received messages are stored in encrypted 
form on your disk, but some require a password to read, 
and others decrypt automatically when you view them 
through the mail program. Anyone with access to your sys- 
tem can then read the messages. But while the messages 
traverse the Internet, they’re secure. 

Remember that secure is a relative term. People who try 
to pick off your messages will have their work cut out for 
them if they attempt to decrypt your messages, which 
could take years. But if these people have access to your 
system, they don’t need to decrypt at all. Access may not 
be physical access. A monitoring program or a Trojan, 
whether it’s Microsoft SMS, Back Orifice 2000, WinWhat- 
Where Investigator, or any of several remote-control pack- 
ages, can record (and transmit) all of your keystrokes, long 
before the message is ever encrypted. The same packages 
can capture a decrypted screenful on the receiving end. 

For true security, you’ve got to consider every point of 
vulnerability. Feeling paranoid yet? 



Any hacker 
with the 
proper access, 
knowledge, 
and tools 
can trap 
your packets 
and read 
your messages. 


MORE ON THE WEB: Talk back to Bill Machrone in our Opinions 
section, and sign up for his new-products newsletter, at 

www.pcmag.com/opinions. 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 


123 



PRESARIO 5700T-600E 
INTERNET PC 

PRESARIO 5700T-600E 
INTERNET PC 

PRESARIO 5700T-500 
INTERNET PC 

PRESARIO 5700T-500 
INTERNET PC 


Intel Pentium III Processor, 600E MHz 

Intel Pentium III Processor, 600E MHz 

Intel Pentium III Processor, 500 MHz 

Intel Pentium III Processor, 500 MHz 


128 MB SyncDRAM expandable to 384 MB 

128 MB SyncDRAM expandable to 384 MB 

128 MB SyncDRAM expandable to 384 MB 

128 MB SyncDRAM expandable to 384 MB 


20.0 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive’ 

13.4 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive' 

13.4 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive’ 

13.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive' 


10X DVD-ROM Drive 2 

10X DVD-ROM Drive 2 

32X Max CD-ROM Drive 5 

32X Max CD-ROM Drive 5 

3S 

3Dfx Voodoo 3 3500 16MB 2X AGP Graphics 

3Dfx Voodoo 3 3500 16MB 2X AGP Graphics 

3Dfx Voodoo 3 1000 2X AGP Graphics Card with 16 MB 

3Dfx Voodoo 3 1000 2X AGP Graphics Card with 16 MB 


Sound Blaster Live! Value PCI Audio 

Sound Blaster Live! Value PCI Audio 

Creative Labs 1373 Audio 

Creative Labs 1373 Audio 


6.0Mb Max Digital DSL Modem 4 

56K ITU V.90 Modem 2 

56K ITU V.90 Modem 3 

56K ITU V.90 Modem 3 


JBL Pro Premium Speakers w/Subwoofer 

Klipsch v.2 -400 Watt Speaker System 

JBL Pro Amplified Speakers 

JBL Pro Amplified Speakers 


Digital Creativity Imaging Center 6 

Digital Creativity Imaging Center 

Digital Creativity Imaging Center 

Digital Creativity Imaging Center 

d 

10.0 Mbps Phoneline Home Networking Card' 0 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection + MS Word 

10.0 Mbps Home Phoneline Networking Card' 0 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection + MS Word 


4X CD-RW (Read/Writeable) Drive 7 

Microsoft Windows98 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection + MS Word 

Microsoft Windows98 

MS 

: Featured Home Collection + MS Word + Wlndows98 

Compaq CV71517" Monitor (16.0" VIA) 

Microsoft Windows98 

Compaq CV515 15" Monitor (13.8" VIA) 


Compaq CV71517" Monitor (16.0” VIA) 


Compaq CV715 17" Monitor (16.0" VIA) 



<1 

Hnnn *ri s 

(Mtoo 

(Moon 


* mo/ 

3 

[nyyy $56 per™.' 

yl /yy $51 per mo.' 

3>IOyy $39 per mo. 

| iyy $34 per mo/ 

3 

Klipsch v.2 -400 Watt Speaker System: Add $249 

4X CO-RW (Read/Writeable) Drive’: Add $1 99 

4X CD-RW (Read/Writeable) Drive 7 : Add $199 

IJ750 Color Inkjet Printer: Add $149 

i $149 

Compaq CV915 19" Monitor (18.0" VIA): Add $200 

Compaq CV915 19" Monitor (18.0" VIA): Add $200 

Compaq CV915 19" Monitor (18.0" VIA): Add $200 

Compaq CV715 17" Monitor (16.0" VIA): Add $70 


Agfa Snap Scan USB Scanner: Add $1 29 

20.0 GB (7200rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive': Add $108 

Intel Create and Share USB Camera Pack: Add $79 

Intel Create and Share USB Camera Pack: Add $79 


PRESARIO 1 800T-500 

PRESARIO 1800T-450 

PRESARIO 1 800T-450 

PRESARIO 1900T-433 

INTERNET NOTEBOOK PC 

INTERNET NOTEBOOK PC 

INTERNET NOTEBOOK PC 

INTERNET NOTEBOOK PC 

Intel Mobile Pentium III Processor, 500 MHz 

Intel Mobile Pentium III Processor, 450 MHz 

Intel Mobile Pentium III Processor, 450 MHz 

Mobile Intel Celeron™ Processor, 433 MHz 

14.1" TFT Active Matrix Display 

15.0" TFT Active Matrix Display 

14.1" TFT Active Matrix Display 

12.1" TFT Active Matrix Display 

64 MB SyncDRAM 

96 MB SyncDRAM 

64 MB SyncDRAM 

64 MB SyncDRAM 

10.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive' 

6.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive’ 

6.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive' 

4.8 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive’ 

6X DVD-ROM Drive 9 

6X DVD-ROM Drive 5 

24X Max CD-ROM Drive 6 

6X DVD-ROM Drive 9 

ATI Rage LT Pro Hardware Accelerated 

ATI Rage LT Pro Hardware Accelerated 

ATI Rage LT Pro Hardware Accelerated 

ATI Mobility Hardware Accelerated 

3D Graphics with 8 MB Video Memory 

3D Graphics with 8 MB Video Memory 

3D Graphics with 8 MB Video Memory 

3D Graphics with 8 MB Video Memory 

56K ITU V.90 Modem (PCI) 3 

56K ITU V.90 Modem (PCI) 3 

56K ITU V.90 Modem (PCI) 3 

56K ITU V.90 Modem (PCI) 3 

Ultra Hi-Capacity Lilon Battery 

Ultra Hi-Capacity Lilon Battery 

Ultra Hi-Capacity Lilon Battery 

Ultra Hi-Capacity Lilon Battery 

256 KB Integrated “On-chip” cache 

256 KB Integrated “On-chip" cache 

256 KB Integrated “On-chip” cache 

128 KB Integrated “On-chip" cache 

10/100 BaseT Ethernet Network Card 

10/100 BaseT Ethernet Network Card 

10/100 BaseT Ethernet Network Card 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection 

)8 Microsoft Featured Home Collection + Windows98 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection + Windows98 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection + Windows98 

Microsoft Windows98 

As low as 

AAFAAt As low as 

As low as 

rf* As low as 

mo.’ yZ/UU $78 per mo.’ 

$2599 $73 per mo.' 

$2199 $62 per mo.’ 

$1999 $56 per mo. 1 

128 MB SyncDRAM: Add $200 

CD-RW Drive: Add $150 

6X DVD-ROM Drive 4 : Add $150 

Compaq Value Case: Add $39 

18.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive': Add $300 

192 MB SyncDRAM: Add $200 

96 MB SyncDRAM: Add $100 

Extra A/C Adapter: Add $49 

Extra Ultra Hi-Capacity Lilon Battery: Add $129 

Extra A/C Adapter: Add $49 

Extra A/C Adapter: Add $49 

QuikDock w/lntegrated Ethernet: Add $129 


3ls available in retail stores. Illustrations may not accurately represent exact configurations priced. Compaq is not liable for editorial, pictorial, or typographical errors in this advertisement. 'This product is provided and administered by MBNA 
account. However, there is an access check fee of 3% of the U.S. Dollar amount of each advance check ($5 min./$30 max.). "System tested using NSTL YMARK2000 hardware test. Non-compliant third-party software/hardware products may 
:ero User Agreement for details. 'For hard drives, GB=billion bytes. 2 10X DVD-ROM drives read a minimum of 5545 Kbps and a maximum of 13525 Kbps. 3 ITU V.90 modems are designed only to allow faster downloads from K56flex- or 
the ADSL/G.Lite protocol. ADSL/G.Lite updates may be downloaded from Compaq's website when available. The ADSLVG.Lite protocol is designed to allow faster downloads from ADSL/G.Lite-compliant digital sources. Availability of ADSL/G.Lite 
currently unknown, may not reach 6.0Mbps, and will vary with line conditions and distance. 5 32X Max CD-ROM data transfer rates may vary from 1800 to 4800 Kbps. 6 Works with most third-party devices, 
om 1 50 to 300 Kbps; for reading to CD media, the data transfer rate may vary from 1 500 to 3600 Kbps. An appropriate license may be required. 8 24X Max CD-ROM data transfer rates may vary from 1 500 to 3600 Kbps. 9 6X DVD-ROM Drive 
adapter, sold separately. AOL is a single-user system and will not allow multiple users to access simultaneously under the same account. Other Internet Service Providers may have the same restrictions. One year parts and labor. Labor for 
rademark Office. Iomega and Zip are registered trademarks and Zip Built-In is a trademark of Iomega Corporation. Microsoft, MS, and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Intel, the Intel Inside Logo, and Pentium are 
iq Monday-Friday, 7:00am-1 1 :00pm (CT). Saturday and Sunday, 7:00am-7:00pm [Cl). ©2000 Compaq Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. 


Compaq Home 


COMPAQ. 


PRESARIO 5700T-700 
INTERNET PC 



Free Internet Access 

From NetZero* 

These Compaq Presario Internet PCs give your 
family fast, easy Internet access. And now they 
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Intel® Pentium® III Processor, 700 MHz 
128 MB SyncDRAM expandable to 384 MB 
20.0 GB (7200 rpm) UltraDMA Hard Drive 1 

IPX DVD-ROM Drive 2 

Creative Annihilator 32MB w/GeForce256 Graphi 

Sound Blaster” Live! Value PCI Audio 

6.0Mb Max Digital DSL Modem 4 

JBL Pro Premium Speakers w/Subwoofer 

Digital Creativity Imaging Center 

Microsoft® Featured Home Collection + MS® Wor 

Microsoft Windows®98 

Compaq CV915 19" Monitor (18.0" VIA) 


$22991 $ 64 .. 

Klipsch v.2 -400 Watt Speaker System: Add $24 
250 MB Iomega Zip Built-In” Drive + 1 disk: Adt 
Agfa Snap Scan USB Scanner: Add $129 


Compaq Financing 

From instant application processing to flexible 
payment options, the Compaq Consumer 
Financing Progranf makes it easy to get the 
latest Compaq technology. Call now to 
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Compaq Printers 



IJ900 Printer (shown) $169.99 

IJ300 Printer $99.99 

A900 Printer $349.99 



PRESARIO 190OT 

A Thin and Light Next-Generation 
Mobile Internet PC 



PRESARIO 1800T £ 

Powerful Desktop Performance 
in a Mobile Internet PC 


PRESARIO 1 800T-500 
INTERNET NOTEBOOK PC 

Intel Mobile Pentium III Processor, 500 MHz 

15.0" TFT Active Matrix Display 

96 MB SyncDRAM 

6.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive 

CD-RW Drive 7 

ATI Rage LT Pro Hardware Accelerated 
3D Graphics with 8 MB Video Memory 

56K ITUV.90 Modem (PCI) 3 

Ultra Hi-Capacity Lilon Battery 
256 KB Integrated “On-chip" cache 

10/100 BaseT Ethernet Network Card 

Microsoft Featured Home Collection + Windows^ 

$2999 884 

10.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive’: Add $150 

128 MB SyncDRAM: Add $100 

Mobility Auto Adapter: Add $99 


Y2K 


COMPAQ PRODUCTS ARE YEAR 2000 HARDWARE COMPLIANT.” 


‘All prices shown are Compaq Direct selling prices and do not include applicable sales tax and shipping, are valid in the U.S. only, and are subject to change or cancellation without notice. Not all mod 
American Bank, N.A. Financing available on approved credit. Payment based on a 48-month term at 14.99% APR. Your APR may be higher. There is no fee for Compaq purchases billed directly to your 
affect rollover results. For more details, see www.compaq.com/year2000. 'Requires sharing subscriber profile information and viewing targeted ads. Other terms and conditions also apply. See Net/ 
V.90-compliant digital sources. Maximum achievable download transmission rates are currently unknown, may not reach 56 Kbps, and will vary with line conditions. 4 The 6.0Mb Max Digital Modem uses 
services will vary by region and Internet Service Provider (ISP), and may differ from V.90 ISP services. Maximum achievable download transmission rates with ADSL/G.Lite are 
7 CD-RW drive data transfer rates may vary as follows: for recording to CD-R media, the data transfer rate may vary from 1 50 to 600 Kbps; for writing to CD-RW media, the data transfer rate may vary fr 
transfer rate is up to 8115 Kbps compared to 1352 Kbps for IX DVD-ROM Drives. ,0 Home Pnoneline Networking and Ethernet Port cannot be used simultaneously. Additional PC must have a network 
desktop systems is pickup service during the first 90 days of ownership. Labor for notebook systems is pickup service. Compaq, the Compaq Logo, and Presario are registered in the U.S. Patent and 1 
registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. Product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of other companies. Call Comp; 






PRESARIO 5700N-466 
INTERNET PC 


COMPAQ. 


Intel® Celeron'" Processor, 466 MHz 

64 MB SyncDRAM, 4 MB Shared for Video 

10.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive’ 

32X Max CD-ROM Drive 5 

2X AGP w/64-bit Hardware Accelerated 3D Graphics 

ESS Solo PCI Audio 

56K ITUV.90 Modem 3 

JBL Pro Amplified Speakers 

Creativity Action Center 

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PC Death, Greatly Exaggerated 


E ditor-in-chief Paul Somerson, in the November 
issue of PC/Computing , is the one who made the 
blanket statement that computer magazines are 
dead. This was a marketing ploy that explained 
that his magazine was changing its focus away 
from computers towards business, presumably to take ad- 
vantage of higher ad rates. Perhaps he actually believes 
that computer magazines are dead. 

Whatever the case, this essay didn’t go over too well 
with anyone at PC Magazine. Worse, it reflected a widely 
held attitude among those susceptible to anticomputer 
propaganda, much of which was started by Scott McNealy 
and his stooges at Sun Microsystems. It’s rubbish. 

This all began with the concept of the so-called “post- 
PC era,” which was an invention either of McNealy or 
some speaker at one of those groupthink social events, 
such as DEMO, Agenda, or PC Forum. This was a jazzy 
catch phrase that could be incorporated into the business 
plan du jour, and before you knew it, the dopey pundits 
were all over the term as if the existence of such a term 
made the concept true. 

And then the counter-term “PC-plus era” emerged, but 
it was too late, and PC-plus just sounded like old thinking. 
Surprise: PC-plus is the era we are entering. New periph- 
erals will make the PC even more the center of attention. 
You need a PC to edit those digital photos and to synch 
that Palm Pilot. Above all, you need it to develop that per- 
sonal Web page you and everyone else will eventually 
have. I’m convinced that the PC will also become a per- 
sonal server on the desktop, serving Web pages for indi- 
viduals on that 24/7 connection coming soon. The “post- 
PC” era concept doesn’t address any of these trends. 

Historically, when a unique device enters society and 
quickly becomes popular, people take decades to admit 
that it’s here to stay. The car was a hot item in its early 
days, but there was always a contention that public trans- 
portation would be the true future of personal travel or 
that the car itself would give way to little airplanes we’d 
all be flying. 

So too do we see this kind of wishful thinking amongst 
that segment of the community that just can’t accept com- 
puters as everyday devices. These people argue that even- 
tually there will be no PC. Instead, there will be little com- 
puters distributed everywhere, which will be transparent. 
We will not need to suffer with crashes — oh, horror of hor- 
rors. These people see PCs not a convenience but as a nui- 
sance that will go away. 


But the car never went away, and people 
got used to certain problems cars had. They 
crash too— big-time. Tires go flat. Cars are 
hard to operate, and you need a license. They 
have to be washed, and they have to be tuned 
up all the time. How can we put up with this? 

Perhaps we can have a post-automobile era. 

Yeah, right. 

The PC has become as important as a car. 

If you don’t have a PC, you’re perceived as an 
idiot or a Luddite. If you can’t use one, peo- 
ple wonder what rock you’ve been under. 

There are bragging rights involved. You are a 
classier person if you have a 21-inch monitor 
or large flat-panel. People feel sorry for you 
if you use a 14-inch monitor. “Poor thing, can’t 
afford anything better.” Megahertz count too. 

Certain pundits try to deny this to no avail. “I 
get along just fine with my 90-MHz Pen- 
tium,” said one pundit on a TV show. He seemed pathet- 
ic, broke. 

To really understand the nature of computers, observe 
the Mac users out there who drool over the ownership of 
the fabulous-looking G3 and G4 machines. Mac users 
love having a hot-looking machine show off. 

And have any of the post-PC people paid any attention 
to the sociology of the physical machine itself? It’s a big 
box that people want. Not too big, but big enough to see. 
Since the invention of the Altair in 1975, the relative size of 
the machine has stayed within a certain range. 

I do not see this ever changing. Again, take the car: 
There have been various three-wheel and other offbeat de- 
signs, but the basic car with a front and back seats, four 
wheels, and a trunk seems to be the most desirable. Things 
get into society and stick there for a reason: practicality. 
The PC, as it now exists, is incredibly practical. It’s re- 
pairable in this form. It’s upgradable. You can program it 
to do anything. It’s here to stay. Get over it! 

As for computer magazines, they represent the best in 
push technology. Here to stay too. Perhaps the golden age 
of computer magazines has not yet begun. Look how long 
it took car magazines to reach their zenith. 


MORE ON THE WEB: Read John C. Dvorak's news , views, and 
snide asides every Monday at PC Magazine Online. And don't 
miss Dvorak's “ Silicon Spin” every day on ZDTV. You can also 
view past shows at www.zdtv.com/siliconspin. 



The PC has 
become as 
important as a 
car. If you don’t 
have a PC, 
you’re perceived 
as an idiot or a 
Luddite. There 
are bragging 
rights involved. 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 129 




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T his is the year of the gigahertz 
chips, as AMD and Intel will 
spend the rest of the year trying 
to outdo one another. Hopeful- 
ly, they won’t be too cavalier 
about the quality of their products. When 
the recent news broke about the Intel 
Coppermine chip frequently not booting 
I was a little disturbed. Apparently the 
chip was not going to be recalled, and 
people would have to keep hitting Reset 
until the chip jumped to action. If Intel 
can get away with this — and there has 
been little public outcry — then we’re all 
doomed to a life of misery as buggy prod- 
ucts take over. 

Oh, Brother, Now What? Dept. A report 
from Washington says that the Pentagon 
has jumped into the act regarding digital 
broadcasting methodologies. The military 
and security agencies want the FCC to re- 
open the debate regarding the technolo- 
gy used to send and receive the signals. 
The method to be employed is called ves- 
tigial sideband modulation (8-VSB), and 
they want it replaced with coded orthog- 
onal frequency division multiplexing 
(COFDM). The 8-VSB technology requires 
large directional antennas to get a good 
signal. The agencies argue that in the case 
of a national emergency, the antennas can 
get skewed and useless. Do they know 
something we don’t know? My question: 
Can’t they come up with a technology that 
works fine with rabbit ears? 

Meanwhile, the DVD community is 
upset over the cracking of the copy pro- 
tection scheme used in those devices. 
This has caused a delay in the audio ver- 
sion of DVD and has made the release of 
upcoming DVD-RW devices, which can do 
the full 4.7GB, iffy. Pioneer plans to release 
such a device in Japan for about $2,500. It 
should be able to copy a full DVD movie. 

Nobody knows what to do about this 
thing. I say ignore it. I’ve said this before, 
and I’ll say it again: The number of people 
who want to dub and sell bootleg movies 
is too small to worry about. People tend 


Inside Track 


to use such things for time-switching a 
movie rental or for multiple viewings. I 
personally can barely watch a movie 
twice, let alone dozens of times, but I 
know people who do. I suppose they 
should pay for ten rentals if they watch 
ten times rather than dub off a copy and 
watch the copy over and over. 

China Syndrome Dept. They do things 
differently in China, where people typical- 
ly do not have the same disposable income 
that those in Western nations have. So 
things have to be done on the cheap side. 
For example, there are few DVD players, as 
the Chinese market utilizes the cheaper V- 
CD technology, which shows movies in a 
fuzzy MPEG-i format. Now the Net PC 
seems to be gaining a foothold in China in 
various forms. The models hitting the mar- 
ket now, which are designed for light com- 
puting and Web surfing, are mostly Win- 
dows CE units. The most interesting is the 
Microsoft Venus project, which is now in 
production. It looks like a silver VCR with 
a 3.5-inch drive in front as well as a CD 
drawer and drive. It runs Windows Chi- 
nese CE and is bundled with a so-called 
mini-Office suite and fax software, as well 
as browser software. It has VGA and S- 
Video I/O and can play those V-CDs and 
karaoke disks too. It’s manufactured by 
TCL, China’s largest TV maker, and costs 
the equivalent of about $300. My thanks 
to Dennis Chang for sending me a picture 
and specifications for the device. 

Microsoft is going to make a sustained 
effort to flood the market with devices 
like this and other kinds of equipment to 
stave off AOL from taking over the online 
world. The way things are going, AOL is 
executing the plan originally established 
by MSN: to circumvent the Internet and 
become the everyman’s portal. 

The recent saber rattling by AOL re- 
garding its entry into DSL services and 
very-high-speed access has Microsoft 
looking for a more interesting play: satel- 
lite uplinks and downlinks. The typical 
satellite downlink speed is minimally 40 


The DVD com- 
munity is upset 
over the crack- 
ing of the copy 
protection 
scheme used in 
those devices. 
It’s caused a 
delay in the 
audio version 
of DVD. 


Mbps. Various vendors of uplink equip- 
ment are in talks with Microsoft for the 
possible national rollout of a satellite so- 
lution for a targeted $50 a month. For the 
past few years I’ve heard of various con- 
sumer satellite schemes, none of which 
have ever panned out. If you go on the 
Web today and query a good search en- 
gine on Internet satellite or satellite 
modem , you’ll see activity all over the 
place. A sudden emergence of an inex- 
pensive satellite Internet uplink system 
with good downlink speed would sure get 
the cable and DSL folks scrambling. 

The earliest satellite downlink 
schemes, which peaked with the 
DirecTV/Hughes system that limited total 
bytes to something too small to be practi- 
cal in today’s age of MP3, have not fared 
well, especially at the paltry 400-Kbps 
maximum speed. And all these lash-ups 
have been kludges with a phone line out of 
the computer hooked to an uplink station 
somewhere. The system needs uplink ca- 
pability built into the dish to be complete. 
The Teledesic network of 288 satellites is 
part of a future scheme that will use two- 
way systems and provide 64-Mbps down- 
loads, which actually may be relatively 
slow by the time they launch these things. 
Meanwhile, we should see various 
announcements throughout the year for 
different satellite ISPs, as the world pushes 
broadband and universal access. 


FEBRUARY 8. 2000 PC MAGAZINE 131 



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JIM SEYMOUR 


Time for an “Envelope Server 


55 


W ill you join me in a crusade? I’ve been 
fighting this alone since 1992, and I’m 
getting fed up. Maybe if enough of us 
make enough noise, we’ll finally get 
some action. 

The goal is simple: to get one or more of the laser print- 
er makers to produce what I’ve been calling an “envelope 
server” — a printer optimized for standard #10 commercial- 
size envelopes. It should either work as a standalone print- 
er or — this makes more sense — be attached to a network. It 
should take a stack of 200 or more #ios, print them nice and 
straight, and collect and stack them when finished. 

Envelopes are critical to paper correspondence. Yes, we 
use more and more e-mail every day. But for nearly every 
business, plain old #ios are going to remain a key part of its 
communications with prospects, customers, suppliers, and 
others, for a long time to come. Yet today we really have only 
a few choices, all bad, for producing addressed envelopes: 
using window envelopes, which put unreasonable demands 
on the formatting of the letter or other contents of the enve- 
lope and often messup printer drums; using stick-on labels, 
which look like hell and shout “tawdry mailing-list-produced 
commercial pitch enclosed!”; stuffing envelopes into con- 
ventional printers, which then slew, smear, and finally jam; 
or hand-addressing. Or turning to— gasp ! — a typewriter. 

Well, there are other choices. Hewlett-Packard has for 
years made the only add-on envelope feeders I know of that 
work reliably for its 3Si, 4Si, sSi, and 4000 printers. These 
are nice, and they can convert printers into ones that accept 
many sizes of ordinary paper and auto-feed up to a hundred 
or so envelopes. But these are big, expensive beasts. 

We need something about the size of an NEC Superscript 
870 or 1800. It should work fine with electronic postage, 
and it should sell for under a thousand bucks. (Sure, I wish 
they could do it for $299, but that’s unlikely, in part because 
of the modest volumes they’d expect to sell.) 

Actually, I don’t think a good envelope server printer 
would sell in low numbers. Only one maker is likely to gam- 
ble on this, and that vendor will earn the undying thanks — 
and the purchase orders — of hundreds of thousands of har- 
ried businesspeople. And because a successful design 
wouldn’t need to be replaced (or “refreshed”) every few 
months, the machine would have a long, profitable life. 
Interested? Want one? 

Then speak up. Send letters to the major printer manu- 
facturers: Brother, Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark, Minolta, 
NEC, Oki Data, Panasonic, Xerox, you name ’em — de- 


manding an envelope server. Tell ’em you’re 
ready to buy today. 

And let’s see if we can get a good answer to 
an infuriating problem. 

Hot Tip: If you still have some of that cash 
your Uncle Earl sent you for Christmas — or if 
you’re feeling flush and want to give yourself 
a nice little present — consider the Diamond 
Rio 500, by far the most appealing of the cur- 
rent crop of pocketable MP3 players. (By the 
way, it won the Editors’ Choice award in this 
issue’s After Hours roundup of portable MP3 
players, “MP3 to Go.”) 

I’ve seen it priced on the Web from around 
$200 to $275 or so. You can use a shopping bot, 
of course, such as mySimon ( www.mysimon 
.com), to track down a current low price and 
its availability. 

The Rio 500 is smaller and lighter and more 
practical than anything else I’ve seen. (That includes Sony’s 
clever and appealing pen-shaped MP3 player seen at 
Comdex.) I’ve gotten more raw pleasure from my Rio 500 
than from anything computerish I’ve bought in years. For 
portable use, the “earbud” headphones delivered with just 
the Rio 500 make the most sense, but you won’t realize how 
good its playback is until you plug in studio-quality head- 
phones (such as Sennheiser 580s or Sony 7560s). Awesome. 

By the way, a tip on MP3 files: I’m a lot more interested 
in making my CDs portable than in stealing music off the 
Web. I get the best results from RIPing and saving cuts from 
CDs twice: one at 96K, for use in the Rio 500, and again at 
192K, for sound I find indistinguishable from CDs when 
played over a good desktop PC sound system. 

Quick correction: I recently raved about the aftermarket 
close-up system produced by Susan Doel for some recent 
Kodak digital cameras. Unfortunately, I misidentified the 
Kodak cameras with which her gizmo works. Susan makes 
two different adapters, one for the Kodak DC220 and one 
for the DC260/265/290 (all of which share the same body). 
Unfortunately, there isn’t one for the DC240/280 cameras, 
because there isn’t enough room on each camera’s lens 
barrel to attach an adapter. Interested? You’ll find more at 
http://home.earthlink.net/~crowboy/closeup.html. 

MORE ON THE WEB: Join us online and make your voice heard. 
Talk back to Jim Seymour in our opinions section, 

www.pcmag.com/opinions. 



The printer 
vendor that 
gambles on an 
envelope server 
will earn the 
undying thanks 
of business 
people. 


FEBRUARY 8. 2000 PC MAGAZINE 133 


from the country that brought you 



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COMMUNICATIONS 


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BILL HOWARD 


RIP, Notebook FDD 


F ew things are more useless than a floppy disk drive 
built into a portable PC. On the other hand, there’s 
nothing so bothersome as a zealous manufacturer 
leaving it out of the shipping carton entirely. An ex- 
ternal floppy disk drive adds maybe $20 to the sys- 
tem cost but costs $100 if bought separately. The only rea- 
son to leave it out entirely is if you want to make a political 
statement and don’t mind annoying users in the process. 

In looking over the dozen corporate notebooks sitting 
on PC Magazine Labs’ test benches (see page 192) and in 
talking with several of the leading notebook vendors, it’s 
clear that we’re going to see considerable change over the 
next 12 months. Including, I hope, the demise of most 
three-drive notebook computers. 

The SpeedStep (originally called Geyserville) version of 
the 600-MHz Intel Mobile Pentium III, expected to be an- 
nounced in mid-January, stops desktop PCs from pulling too 
far ahead on performance. Windows 2000, due in mid-Feb- 
ruary, gives corporate users a robust operating system that 
doesn’t cripple notebook peripherals and power manage- 
ment the way Windows NT 4.0 does. On-board graphics 
chip sets have real memory — 8MB now and 16MB shortly — 
so you can make presentations on an outboard monitor at 
high resolution and full color. Battery life is holding its own. 

Over the next year, I believe you’ll see two-drive note- 
books dominate. Hardly anybody needs a floppy disk drive 
anymore. On the other hand, if you downsize further and 
buy a single-drive notebook with just a hard disk, you save 
only a few ounces and a quarter-inch of height compared 
with a two-drive notebook with a plastic modesty panel 
covering the second bay, and about a pound if there’s a 
DVD, CD, or CD-RW drive installed. The difference isn’t re- 
ally 4 pounds versus 5 pounds but more like 10 pounds ver- 
sus 11 pounds, which is what your shoulder bag weighs 
when you include your cell phone, transformer, and news- 
paper, along with the weight of the bag itself. 

I can think of half a dozen easy workarounds for data 
transfer if you don’t have a floppy disk drive at hand. On the 
road you can use one-inch-square Compact Flash (CF) 
memory cards mounted in PC Card holders (they’re up to 
160MB now), PC Card hard disks (up to iGB now), or CD- 
RW drives, Iomega Zip drives, or Imation SuperDisk (LS- 
120) drives in the CD/DVD bays of two-drive notebooks. You 
can transfer Files by e-mail or over the network. If you want 
serious backup capability, consider external hard disks such 
as the new 12-ounce IBM Travelstar 8GB and 10GB external 
drives ($430 and $530 street; www.ibm.com/harddrive ); they 


draw power from the PC Card socket rather 
than requiring a bulky transformer. One floppy 
disk drive alternative for file sharing that I don’t 
like is infrared (IrDA). The technology never 
took off for lots of reasons, including all the 
printers and 3Com Palms that don’t have IrDA 
and the fact that the IrDA port sometimes con- 
flicts with other I/O devices on notebooks. In 
about a year I expect that Bluetooth, the short- 
range, medium-speed RF wireless protocol, 
will begin to supplant IrDA. 

There are two — perhaps three — types of 
users for whom three-drive notebooks make 
sense: home or SOHO users who hardly ever 
travel, users of notebooks with 15-inch displays 
(they are beasts already with or without flop- 
py disk drives), and possibly the corporate 
users who are prone to lose anything not bolt- 
ed to the PC. For the third group of users, even 
built-in transformers would make sense. 

A year from now you’ll see notebook makers start to drop 
parallel, serial, mouse and keyboard ports in favor of USB. 
There needs to be overlap, because USB accessories are only 
just now becoming widely available. For instance, we expect 
that virtually every Epson and HP printer due out this year 
will have USB; last year, there were only a handful. In the 
meantime, I hope more vendors put two USB ports— not 
one — on the notebook itself (putting one on the port repli- 
cator doesn’t count), and eventually I’d like to see four. To 
support more than two USB ports, Intel needs to update its 
chip set to support more USB connectors directly. 

If the floppy disk drive shouldn’t be integrated, what 
should? I’d vote for the modem and Ethernet adapter, along 
with their RJ11 and RJ45 jacks. In other words, no external 
dongles. Jointly fitting modem and Ethernet on the mini- 
PCI slot found on many notebooks is possible. For corpo- 
rate notebooks, the antenna for wireless Ethernet should 
be built in; Apple already does this. 

That said, there still are times when you want to get a 
single file off a floppy disk, and that’s why having a floppy 
disk drive available is handy. A few dollars extra for con- 
venience is a small price to pay. The greater convenience 
is never having to lug the drive around involuntarily. 

MORE ON THE WEB: Join us online and make your voice heard. 
Talk back to Bill Howard in our Opinions section, 

www.pcmag.com/opinions. 



Over the next 
year, I believe 
you’ll see two- 
drive notebooks 
dominate. 
Hardly anybody 
needs a floppy 
disk drive 
anymore. 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 135 


Compaq Business 


Get results. 
Get Compaq. 


COMPAQ AWARDS 


November 1999 

PC World 

Power Desktops Best Buy 

Prosignia Desktop 330 

October 1999 

WinMag.com 

WinList 

Prosignia Desktop 320 


Accelerate your business with the latest technology. Call today. 

To turn great ideas into real growth, your business has to run at peak performance. 
Luckily, the right technology solutions are right at hand: these Compaq Prosignia 
PCs. They’re the only family of computers designed and priced specifically for 
growing businesses like yours. Which means they’re the ideal choice when you want 
to see your productivity soar. 

You’ll get the very latest technology, including the lightning- fast Intel® Pentium® III 
Processor. And now you’ll get a FREE 6 trial of Compaq Online Services with your 
Compaq purchase — Internet-powered services to help manage your office, simplify 
your communications, and build your business online. So you can discover how 
online technology gives you even more ways to boost your productivity — both in 
the office and on the road. 



So call Compaq today and start seeing results, fast. 


COMPAQ. 


To buy now 

Call 1 - 888 - 353-5118 

Go to www.directplus.compaq.com 





PROSIGNIA DESKTOP 330 


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COMPAQ ONLINE SERVICES 


POWER PAQ 


Prosignia Desktop 320 with: 

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32X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 

nVIDIA VANTA 8MB Graphics 

Microsoft® Windows® 98 (2nd Edition) 

Microsoft Word® 2000 

Free 6 Trial of Compaq Online Services 

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$ 829 

or lease for only 

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► QuickFind Code: 42X1X4-17117 

For $150 more, upgrade to 

Intel Celeron Processor 500MHz, 

8.4GB Hard Drive! 64MB SDRAM. 

Buy now, supplies are limited. 


• Intel Pentium® III Processor 550MHz 

• 8.4GB Hard Drive 1 5400 rpm 

• 64MB SDRAM (expandable to 384MB) 

• Compaq 15" Monitor (13.8" viewable) 

• 32X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 
•nVIDIA VANTA 8MB Graphics 

• Prosignia Internet Keyboard 

• Microsoft Windows 98 (2nd Edition) 

• Microsoft Word 2000 

• Free 6 Trial of Compaq Online Services 

• 3-Year Limited Warranty 1 

*1199 

Lease for: $40/month 

► QuickFind Code: 42X1X4-17251 
Customize with these options: 

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On-Site Service Warranty Upgrade: $99 

• Compaq Pro 500 UPS: $199 


• Intel Pentium III Processor 600E MHz 

• 13.5GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive' 7200 rpm 

• 96MB SDRAM (expandable to 384MB) 

• Compaq S710 17" Monitor (15.7" viewable) 

• 32X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 

• Compaq 10/100 Network Controller 

• Prosignia Internet Keyboard 

• Microsoft Windows 98 (2nd Edition) 

• Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business® 

• Free 6 Trial of Compaq Online Services 

• 3-Year Limited Warranty 4 

*1679 

Lease for: $56/month 5 

► QuickFind Code: 42X1X4-17257 
Customize with these options: 

• Upgrade to S91 0 Monitor: $199 

• Compaq IJ750 Printer: $149 

• 9x5, Next-Business-Day, 

On-Site Service Warranty Upgrade: $99 


These new, easy-to-use, Internet-powered 
solutions bring the power of the Internet to 
your growing company. You'll get tools to help 
manage your office, build your business, sell 
online, and simplify your communications. 

And now you can try any, or all, of these 
new Compaq Online Services FREE 6 when 
you buy these Prosignia Desktop or 
Notebook PCs. So start growing your 
business faster and smarter today. 

For details, call us, or visit us online: 
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COMPAQ SOLUTION PROVIDERS 

Make the most of your technology with 
the expertise and experience of Compaq 
Solution Providers. Only Compaq has 
specially trained and certified resellers 
to provide customized solutions for your 
growing business. 

So rely on Compaq Solution Providers for 
expert assistance in choosing, installing, 
and servicing the best technology for 
your business. 


PROSIGNIA NOTEBOOK 170 

• Mobile Intel Pentium III Processor 500MHz 

• 4GB SMART Hard Drive 1 

• 64MB SDRAM (expandable to 320MB) 
•13.3" XGA TFT (1024 x 768) Display 

• 24X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 

• Compaq 56K V. 90 Data/Fax Modem 3 

• Compaq PremierSound™ 

• Integrated AC Adapter 

• 1 Li-Ion Battery 

• Microsoft Windows 98 (2nd Edition) 

• Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business 

• Free 6 Trial of Compaq Online Services 

• 3-Year Limited Warranty 4 

*2889 

Lease for: $97/month 

► QuickFind Code: 42X1X4-18348 
Customize with these options: 

• Value Carrying Case: $39 

• 3-Year, Parts and Labor, Mail-In 
Warranty Upgrade: $199 

• Upgrade to a 12GB Hard Drive: $215 


PROSIGNIA NOTEBOOK 190 

• Mobile Intel Pentium III Processor 450MHz 

• 6GB SMART Hard Drive 1 

• 64MB SDRAM (expandable to 256MB) 
•14,1" SVGA (800 x 600) Display 

• 24X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 

• Compaq 56K V.90 Data/Fax Modem 3 

• Compaq PremierSound 

• Integrated AC Adapter 

• 1 Li-Ion Battery 

• Microsoft Windows 98 (2nd Edition) 

• Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business 

• Free 6 Trial of Compaq Online Services 

• 3-Year Limited Warranty 4 

*2539* 

Lease for: $85/month s 

► QuickFind Code: 42X1X4-18446 
Customize with these options: 

• Global II Carrying Case: $69 

• Cannon BJC Color Jet Mobile Printer: $299 

• Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2000 
Professional: $199 


PROSIGNIA SERVER 720 

• Intel Pentium III Processor 550MHz 

• 64MB 100MHz SDRAM (exp. to 768MB) 

• Wide-Ultra2 SCSI Controller 

• 9.1GB Ultra2 Hard Drive' 

• 5 Bays: 3 Removable, 2 Hard Drive 

• 32X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 

• 10/100 TXUTP NIC 

• 6 Slots: 3 PCI, 1 PCI/ISA, 1 ISA, 1 AGP 

• Server Setup and Management Software 

• Pre-Failure Warranty 4 : 

Processor/Drives 

• 3-Year Limited Warranty 4 

*1829* 

Lease for: $61 /month 

► QuickFind Code: 42X1X4-19151 
Customize with these options: 

• Additional 9.1GB Hard Drive: $384 

• 56KFax Modem: $123 

• Compaq T700 UPS: $349 


PROSIGNIA SERVER 740 

• Intel Pentium III Processor 550MHz 

• Dual Processor Capable 

• 128MB 100MHz SDRAM (exp. to 1GB 1 ) 

• Two 9.1GB Ultra2 Hard Drives 1 
•12/24 GB DAT Tape Drive 

• 8 Bays: 4 Removable, 4 Hard Drive 

• 32X Max CD-ROM Drive 2 

• 10/100 TX UTP NIC 

• 6 Slots: 2 PCI, 4 PCI/ISA 

• Server Setup and Management Software 

• Pre-Failure Warranty 4 : 
Memory/Drives/Processors 

• 3-Year Limited Warranty 4 

*3379 

Lease for: $11 3/month 

► QuickFind Code: 42X1X4-19251 
Customize with these options: 

. 9.1GB to 18.2GB Hard Drive 1 Upgrade: $240 

. Smart Array 221 Controller: $795 
. Pre-Installed Operating Systems Available 


Fly free with Compaq. Get frequent flyer miles when you purchase online. See website for details. 


COMPAQ. 



pentium @ /// 


"Prices shown are Compaq prices; reseller and retailer prices may vary. Prices shown are subject to change and do not include applicable state and local sales tax or shipping to recipients 
destination. ' Advertised configurations may vary from award-winning configurations. 'For hard drives and storage, GB=billion bytes. -CD-ROM data transfer rates may vary: 24X Max 
from 1 50 KB/s to 3600 KB/s; 32X Max from 1 50 KB/s to 4800 KB/s. 'ITU V.90 modems (available on select models) are designed only to allow faster downloads from K56flex- or 
V.90-compliant digital sources. Maximum achievable download transmission rates are currently unknown, may not reach 56 Kbps, and will vary with line conditions. "Some 
restrictions and exclusions apply. Call (800) OK COMPAQ for warranty details. -Financing available through Compaq Financial Services (CFS) to qualified U.S. businesses, subject 
to credit approval and execution of CFS documentation. Monthly payments are based on a 36-month Fair Market Value lease, and do not include taxes, fees, or shipping charges. 
Other fees and restrictions may apply and CFS reserves the right to change or cancel this program at any time without notice. ‘Compaq Online Services: Free 30-day trial requires Internet 
access capability. ©1999 Compaq Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. Compaq, the Compaq Logo, and Prosignia are registered trademarks, and PremierSound is a trademark 
of Compaq Computer Corporation. Intel, the Intel Inside Logo, and Pentium are registered trademarks and Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. Microsoft, "Windows, and 
Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Other products mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. 
Operating system pre-installed on all portable products. Compaq is not liable for editorial, pictorial, or typographical errors in this advertisement. 2774/02/00 




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$ 145 

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$ 205 

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$ 

158 

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$ 

238 

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$ 

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ITEFINDER 

AST WAY TO FIND WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR ON THE WEB 



THE 


Point. Click. Hire. 


BY MICHAEL E. RYAN 

Posting a help-wanted ad in the 
local newspaper is one way to 
build a workforce, but it may not 
be effective or flexible enough 
to suit your needs. Fortunately, 
you have a number of online 
options for finding new employ- 
ees— part-time, full-time, or 
contract — and managing your 
workforce. Whether you plan to 
manage the recruiting cam- 
paign yourself, farm it out to a professional recruiting agency, or just 
keep up to date on the latest topics and employee incentive programs, 
you’ll find all the information you need with just a few mouse clicks. 



RECRUIT A STAFF 

The Editors’ Choice in our 
roundup of job-hunting Web sites 
(May 25, 1999) and a member of 
our Top 100 Sites list, Monster 
.com ( www.monster.com ) is still 
the best of the category. With 
easy-to-use job-posting features 
for employers and a massive 
library of over 1 million online 
resumes, Monster provides all of 
the resources most HR profes- 
sionals will ever need. Articles 
and tips for effective recruiting 
help round out the site. 

HotJobs.com ( www.hotjobs 
.com), which is also on our Top 
100 list, also offers a wealth of 
recruiting tools and information. 
Best of all, HotJobs lets employ- 
ers monitor how often their job 
postings are viewed and how 
many resumes have been sub- 
mitted for each opening. A chat 
feature lets you link up with 
recruiter colleagues to discuss 
the latest HR issues. 

JobOptions ( www.joboptions 
t .com) is another solid job-hunt- 

0 

< ing site with intuitive features for 

or 

1 posting and managing job ads. 

| The slick interface is one of the 
| site’s strengths, along with the 
| extensive index of HR-related 

I informational Web links. 


HIRE A RECRUITING FIRM 

If you don’t have the resources to 
launch a full-fledged recruiting 
effort of your own, you can 
always outsource the work to a 
recruiting firm. Top Echelon 
( www.topechelon.com ) can help 
you find one that meets your 
criteria. This Web-based firm 
maintains a network of recruiters 
so employers can quickly find 
one in their area or one that 
specializes in their field. Just one 
of many recruiting firms with 
Web presences, Houston-based 
Aapex ( www.aapexl.com ) 
specializes in nationwide tele- 
communications and information 
technology placement as well as 
international executive recruiting. 

One of the most recognizable 
companies in online recruiting, 
i Search ( www.isearch.com/ 
index.htm) offers services that 
drive many companies’ recruit- 
ing efforts. With powerful text 
analysis tools and applicant- 
tracking features, iSearch lets 
companies easily receive, 
organize, and review applicant 
resumes. You can also post jobs 
painlessly through iSearch, 
spreading the word on the 
Internet and the major job- 
search engines quickly. 


Career Central ( www.career - 
central.com) is a nicely designed 
site that employers can use to 
track down the perfect employ- 
ee. The site provides access to a 
hefty database of passive job 
seekers, primarily in the business 
and software-development 
arenas. Candidate searches 
aren’t cheap— $3,495 a pop— 
but to get results quickly, many 
companies probably won’t mind 
footing the bill. 

AUTOMATE YOUR WORKFORCE 

Specializing in workforce auto- 
mation, Vivant! ( www.vivant 
.com) is an online service that 
helps companies tackle the 
entire process of finding, recruit- 
ing, managing, and assessing 
contract IT workers. The entire 
service is browser-based and 
easy to use. 

A similar service, Icarian 
( www.icarian.com ), offers a 
suite of Web-based applications 
that streamline the process of 
finding, hiring, and retaining 
contract employees. The soft- 
ware lets employers manage 
resumes received from various 
sources (e-mail, fax, and mail) 
and track every significant 
aspect of the hiring process. 

Though it doesn’t provide the 
workforce features offered by 
Vivant! or Icarian, Workforce 
Online ( www.hrhq.com ) is an 
excellent resource for HR profes- 
sionals. This one-stop repository 
offers articles on human re- 
sources issues as well as an 
extensive index of links to prod- 
uct and service providers. Global 
HR, software, relocation, health 
benefits, and consulting services 
are just a few of the topics 
covered. This is also the online 
home of Workforce magazine. 


PROVIDE EMPLOYEE INCENTIVES 

Once you hire employees, you’ll 
want to make sure they stay 
happy. RewardsPlus (www 
. rewardsplus. com/index, cfm) 
provides an array of discounted 
benefits for employers to pass 
on to their employees, including 
health, automobile, pet, and life 
insurance packages. Other perks 
include home security discounts 
and legal services. 

For a somewhat simpler 
approach to employee incen- 
tives, try e-Perks (www 
.eperksbusiness.com). This site is 
free to employers and provides 
various discounts to your em- 
ployees as they browse around 
and use e-Perks’ many features: 
free Web-based e-mail, banking 
and trading, daily headline news, 
and shopping and travel arrange- 
ments through Travelocity. 

Netcentives (www 
.netcentives.com/crw) offers a 
similar service through its Click- 
Rewards@Work program, which 
lets you award ClickMiles as 
incentives for any number of 
tasks or accomplishments, such 
as employee referrals and sales 
goals. The ClickMiles are re- 
deemable for frequent-flyer miles 
on ten major airlines and can also 
be exchanged for merchandise at 
CDNow.com, barnesandnoble 
.com, and other sites. 

Flooz (www.flooz.com/b2b) 
provides an online gift-certificate 
program that simplifies sales 
incentives, promotions, corporate 
gifts, special events, and charita- 
ble donations. The free service 
lets you just buy a set number of 
“flooz" dollars and send them to 
whomever you wish. Flooz is 
accepted by several major retail- 
ers, including Godiva Chocolatier, 
Tower Records, and Whole Foods. 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 139 


www.lycos.com 

slashdot.org 

www.websurveyor.com 

Laptop bags 

McAfee.com 

SmartAge 

Zoomerang 

www.port.com; 

www.mcafee.com 

www.smartage.com 

www.zommerang.com 

www.targus.com 

Mercata 

Stamps.com 

HOT LINKS 

Mobile drives 

www.mercata.com 

www.stamps.com 

American Statistical 

www.micro-solutions.com 

MindSpring Biz 

TheStreet.com 

Association 

Hand-helds 

business.mindspring.net 

thestreet.com 

www.stat.ncsu.edu/info/srms/ 

www.casio.com; 

Monster.com 

SuperFamily.com 

srms.html 

www.handspring.com; 

www.monster.com 

www.superfamily.com 

Quirk’s Marketing 

www.palm.com 

MP3.com 

SurfMonkey Kids Channel 

Research Review 


mp3.com 

www.surfmonkey.com 

www.quirks.com/index.html 

Portable MP3 Players 

MSN.com 

Talk City 

Survey Development Guide 

(page 220) 

www.msn.com 

www.talkcity.com 

www.surveyselect.com/ 

PRODUCTS REVIEWED 

MSN MoneyCentral 

TD Waterhouse 

dev_guide.htm 

Audiovox MPDj MP-1000 

moneycentral.msn.com 

www.tdwaterhouse.com 

Survey 101 

www.audiovox.com 

MyHelpdesk.com 

Topica 

www.perseusdevelopment.com/ 

Diamond Rio 500 

www.myhelpdesk.com 

www.topica.com 

surveytips/Survey_101.htm 

www.diamondmm.com 

mySimon 

Travelocity.com 

WWW Survey Assistant 

HanGo Personal Jukebox 

www.mysimon.com 

www.travelocity.com 

www.groupweb.com/download/ 

www.pjbox.com 

myTalk 

WebFIyer 

survey/statsft8.htm 

1-Jam 

www.mytalk.com 

www.webflyer.com 


www.ijamworld.com 

NECX 

Webmonkey 

Power Portables 

Pine D’music SM-320V 

www.necx.com 

www.webmonkey.com 

(page 180) 

www.pine-dmusic.com 

Netmarket.com 

Web Site Garage 

PRODUCTS REVIEWED 

RCA/Thomson Lyra 

www.netmarket.com 

websitegarage.netscape.com 

Compaq Armada E700 

www.lyrazone.com 

Networker.com 

World Wide Web Consortium 

www.compaq.com 

Sensory Science 

www.networker.com 

(W3C) 

Compaq Armada M700 

raveMP 2100 

Northern Light 

www.w3c.org 

www.compaq.com 

www.sensoryscience.com 

www.northernlight.com 

XpertSite.com 

Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 

HOT LINKS 

Outpost.com 

www.xpertsite.com 

www.dell.com 

Audiogalaxy 

www.outpost.com 

Yahoo! 

Dell Latitude CS R400XT 

www.audiogalaxy.com 

The Palace 

www.yahoo.com 

www.dell.com 

Emusic.com 

www.thepalace.com 

Yahooligans! 

Gateway Solo 9300XL 

www.emusic.com 

PowWow 

www.yahooligans.com 

www.gateway.com 

Epitonic.com 

www.powwow.com 

ZDNet 

HP OmniBook 4150 

www.epitonic.com 

Productopia 

www.zdnet.com 

www.hp.com 

Internet Underground 

www.productopia.com 

Zkey.com 

IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU 

Music Archive 

Quicken.com 

www.zkey.com 

www.ibm.com/pc/us 

www.iuma.com 

quicken.com 


IBM ThinkPad 600X 9EU 

Listen.com 

Real.com Guide 

Web Survey Software 

www.ibm.com/pc/us 

www.listen.com 

www.real.com 

(page 163) 

NEC Versa LXi 

Lycos Music 

Reel.com 

PRODUCTS REVIEWED 

www.nec-computers.com 

mp3.lycos.com 

www.reel.com 

EZSurvey 99 for the Internet 

Toshiba Portege 7140CT 

MP3.com 

RemarQ 

www.raosoft.com 

www.computers.toshiba.com 

www.mp3.com 

www.remarq.com 

MarketSight 2.5 

Toshiba Tecra 8100 

Riffage.com 

Scour 

www.decisionarc.com 

www.computers.toshiba.com 

www.riffage.com 

www.scour.net 

Survey Select 2.1 

WinBook XL 3 500 

RioPort 

seeUthere 

www.surveyselect.com 

www.winbook.com 

www.rioport.com 

www.seeuthere.com 

SurveySolutions for the 

HOT LINKS 

SpinRecords.com 

Service911.com 

Web 2.0 

Batteries and more 

www.spinrecords.com 

www.service911.com 

www.perseus.com 

www.igo.com; 

ZDNet Music 

Slashdot 

WebSurveyor 2.0 

www.3klix.com 

music.zdnet.com 


tion 

fcuickCart 
Name brands 
SmartCodes 
Order status 
Same day shipping 
Custom configuration 
24 x 7 technical support 
actory trained technicians 



ortune 1000 company 
y-side comparisons 
se search engine 
>le advice 
ms 



Computing Solutions 
Built for Business ™ 

www.cdw.com 

800-399-4239 


Related Links continued 


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AnyDay.com 

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www.epinions.com 

Cobalt RaQ 3i 

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AOL Instant Messenger 

Evite.com 

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Daewoo 

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www.evite.com 

Compaq Presario EZ2200 

www.daewoo.com 

Ask Jeeves 

eWanted.com 

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Dimensional Media Associates 

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www.ewanted.com 

DealPilot 

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Ask Jeeves for Kids 

EXP.com 

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E-Color 

www.ajkids.com 

www.exp.com 

Dreamweaver 3 Fireworks 3 

www.ecolor.com 

auctions.com 

Expedia.com 

Studio 

IBM 

www.auctions.com 

expedia.com 

www.macromedia.com 

www.research.ibm.com 

Bigstep.com 

fashionmall.com 

Epson PowerLite 710c 

Intel 

www.bigstep.com 

www.fashionmall.com 

www.epson.com 

www.intel.com 

BizRate.com 

FreeAgent.com 

FastSite Release 3 

Internet Fraud Watch 

www.bizrate.com 

www.freeagent.com 

www.lotus.com/fastsite 

www.fraud.org 

Biztravel.com 

freemerchant.com 

IBM Travelstar 10E 

KryoTech 

www.biztravel.com 

www.freemerchant.com 

www.ibm.com 

www.kryotech.com 

Britannica.com 

FreeShop.com 

Labtec ClearVoice Digital 

Motorola 

www.britannica.com 

www.freeshop.com 

Microphone 

www.motorola.com 

CBS Sportsline 

Furniture.com 

www.labtec.com 

NEC 

www.sportsline.com 

www.furniture.com 

NEC Multisync LT140 

www.nec.co.jp/english/today/ 

CenterBeam 

Garden.com 

www.go.nectech.com 

newsrel/9909/0201.html 

www.centerbeam.com 

www.garden.com 

Now You’re Talking on the Web 

net.Genesis 

Charles Schwab 

Gateway 

www.lhs.com 

www.netgen.com 

www.schwab.com 

www.gateway.com 

R U Sure 

Net Perceptions 

Chumbo.com 

Google 

www.rusure.com 

www.netperceptions.com 

www.chumbo.com 

www.google.com 

SkyMap 2000/GPS 

Pantone 

CNET 

GuruNet 

www.etak.com 

www.pantone.com 

cnet.com 

www.guru.net 

Sony VAIO XG9 

Personalization.com 

DealTime 

Hifi.com 

www.sony.com 

www.personalization.com 

www.dealtime.com 

www.hifi.com 

Sony VPL-CS1 SuperLite 

Prodigy Biz 

DeepCanyon 

HotBot 

www.sony.com 

www.prodigybiz.com 

www.deepcanyon.com 

www.hotbot.com 

TripMaker Deluxe 2000 

Scambusters 

Deja.com 

HotJobs.com 

www.randmcnally.com 

www.scambusters.com 

www.deja.com 

www.hotjobs.com 

ViewSonic PJL1005 LiteBird 

Search Engine Showdown 

Dell.com 

HotOffice 

www.viewsonic.com 

www.notess.com/search 

www.dell.com 

www.hotoffice.com 

Zinnote 2000 

SpringPCS 

DevEdge Online 

ICQ.com 

www.zinnote.com 

www.sprintpcs.com 

developer.netscape.com 

www.icq.com 


Toshiba 

Direct Hit 

lnfoSpace.com 

Pipeline 

www.toshiba.com 

www.directhit.com 

infospace.com 

(page 77) 


Discovery Kids 

The Internet Movie 

HOT LINKS 

The Top 100 Web Sites 

www.discoverykids.com 

Database 

AMD 

(page 144) 

Disney.com 

www.imdb.com 

www.amd.com 

PRODUCTS REVIEWED 

www.disney.com 

iQVC 

AT&T Wireless Services 

About.com 

eBay 

www.iqvc.com 

www.attws.com 

www.about.com 

www.ebay.com 

iWant.com 

Bell Atlantic Mobile 

AltaVista 

eFax.com 

www.iwant.com 

www.bam.com 

www.av.com 

www.efax.com 

Lands’ End 

Better Business Bureau Online 

Amazon.com 

eHobbies 

www.landsend.com 

www.bbbonline.org 

www.amazon.com 

www.ehobbies.com 

Lonely Planet 

The Center for Computers & 

Andale 

eHow 

www.lonelyplanet.com 

Democracy 

www.andale.com 

www.ehow.com 

Lycos 



SeleC 


A FI 
Side-] 


Easy to u 
Knowledgeal 
Online soluti* 


SmartSearch 


AND LINKS 


MORE ON THE WEB 

Which Notebook Is Right 
For You? 

Our new interactive scorecard lets you pick the criteria 
that matter most to you, and it lets you adjust their rela- 
tive importance until you find the one notebook that truly 
meets your needs. 


o 


Make your voice heard. 

Talk back to John C. Dvorak, 
Bill Howard, Jake Kirchner, 
Bill Machrone, Michael J. 
Miller, and Jim Seymour. 
www.pcmag.com/ 
opinions 


Get Our Free Newsletter 

Sign up and get Bill Machrone’s personal take on the 
hottest new products three times a week. 

Grab the Daily Download 

Our software experts scour the Web to bring you a cool, 
free download every day. 


Read John C. Dvorak’s News, 
Views, and Snide Asides 
every Monday. And don't 
miss Dvorak’s “Silicon Spin” 
every day on ZDTV. View 
past shows at 
www.siliconspin.com. 


Plus: 

■ Read new reviews daily at www.firstlooks.com 

■ Find tips and tricks at www.pcmag.com/solutions 

u Check current PC prices at www.zdnet.com/shopping 


Related 

Links 

www.pcmag.com/ 

hotlinks 

Visit our home page for additional 
stories and links. 

First Looks 

(page 32) 

PRODUCTS REVIEWED 

Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home 

Edition 4.0 

www.adobe.com 

Apple AirPort 

www.apple.com 

Andrea DA-400 Desktop Array 

Microphone 

www.andreaelectronics.com 

Call Catcher 
www.pagoo.com 

CallWaves Internet Answering 
Machine 

www.callwave.com. 

Canvas 7 
www.deneba.com 


PC MAGAZINE AND BEYOND 



www.pcmag.com 

New-product reviews, 
benchmark test results, 
and computing trends 
fresh every day, along 
with opinions, discus- 
sions, and free utility 
downloads. 


www.zdtv.com 

TV about computing, all day, every 
day. Want to get it? Call your cable 
operator. 

www.zdnet.com 

News, reviews, downloads, shopping, 
auctions, and more at the world’s 
largest computing site. 


www.zdevents.com 

Make plans to attend industry trade 
shows around the world. 

www.smartplanet.com 

Register now for any of hundreds of 
online classes on all aspects of com- 
puting. 


MAGAZINE 







CDW.com. Not just another 
place to buy computers. 

It s CDW at a different address. 



Anyone can set up a virtual 
site and sell computers. But with 
CDW.com, you have the comfort 
of knowing there’s a FORTUNE® 1000 
Company behind the Web address. At CDW.com, 
you’ll be working with your own account manager, 
backed by a whole team of computer experts. And when you 
e-mail us, our system automatically puts your company’s name into 
the subject header and flags your message as top priority. Which means 
you save a lot of time. At CDW, we’ve built the most efficient direct business 
model in the industry. One designed to save you money and be responsive to your needs. 
Bottom line, it’s what’s made us the industry’s leading Direct Solutions Provider. So check out the 
award-winning CDW.com today. We’re proud to stand behind it. Literally. 



Computing Solutions 
Built for Business ™ 
www.cdw.com 
800 - 399-4239 


© 2000 CDW Computer Centers, Inc. 




IvAMA f • m i 


THE TOP 



Surfing? 

How 
nineties! 
Don’t 
waste 
time; use 
the Web 
to get 
things 
done. 


AS WE ASSEMBLED THE LATEST LIST OF OUR FAVORITE 
destinations on the Web, we began to ask ourselves if 
a better title for the story might be “The Top ioo Web 
Services.” Have you noticed that the newest and most 
interesting arrivals online are companies that don’t 
build sites per se, but rather provide compelling ser- 
vices — everything from online postage sales and 
small-business assistance to party planning and expert 
advice on a profusion of topics? Yes, most of us shop 
and pay some bills online today, but our list of sites 
hints at a not-so-distant future in which much more of 
our daily lives moves online, and we get things done 
faster and more conveniently. 

In each of the 20 categories you’ll find sites and ser- 
vices we feel are especially useful and well designed 
and that deliver on the promises they make. Some of 


BY DON WILLMOTT 


144 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


COVER STORY 


the selections are recent Editors’ Choice winners, 
while others are subjective choices made by PC Mag- 
azine editors who spend copious amounts of time ana- 
lyzing the Web. We’ve added several shopping cate- 
gories to our list, and we’ve expanded our coverage of 
Web-based services targeted at small businesses. 
We’ve also asked some of the biggest and most sue- 

WEB SITES 

And the Technologies 
That Make Them Work 

cessful sites to tell us about the technologies behind 
their sites. What tools do they use to build such large 
and complex Web destinations? Check out the inter- 
esting mix of off-the-shelf products and custom solu- 
tions that they depend on. 

As you look all these sites over, see if you agree with 
our assessment that the Web has become a truly use- 
ful daily companion in countless (or at least too) ways. 


IN THIS REVIEW 

146 Careers 

146 Chat/Messaging 

147 Community/Opinion 

148 Computing 
148 Entertainment 

148 Family/Education 

149 Finance/Investing 

149 Lifestyle 

150 Portals/Start Pages 
150 Reference 

152 Search 

154 Shopping Assistants 

154 Shopping: Computing 

154 Shopping: Department 
Stores 

156 Shopping: Person-to-Person 
156 Shopping: Speciality 

156 Small-Business Services 

157 Small-Business Setup 

158 Travel 

159 Web Development 

HOW THEY BUILT IT 

146 A Visual Guide 

147 AnyDay.com 
149 Dell.com 

152 Lonely Planet Online 

157 Outpost.com 

158 Surf Monkey Kids Channel 

Our contributors: Don Willmott is 
executive editor of PC Magazine 
Online, and Cade Metz is a senior 
writer at PC Magazine. 



MORE ON THE WEB: Get easy, one-stop access to all the sites in our list, talk back and give us 
your opinion of our selections, and nominate your own favorite sites for our next list. For a printed 
list of all 100 sites, see Site Finder. www.pcmag.com/special/weblOO 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 145 



TOP 100 WEB SITES 




EXP.com 

www.exp.com 

This intriguing 
site offers benefits to both ca- 
sual visitors and independent 
businesspeople looking for a 
place to market their expertise. 
On the one hand, it’s a place for 
Web surfers to find experts 
who can answer their ques- 
tions; on the other hand, it’s a 
place for experts to sell advice 
or consultations, or to offer 
their services for a fee. 

FreeAgent.com 

www.freeagent.com 

The nature of work is chang- 
ing. If you’ve struck out on 
your own and are now selling 
“the brand you,” you’ll find 
lots of help at this home base 
for freelancers and e-lancers 
of all kinds. You can find ser- 
vices such as insurance and 
retirement plans that are 
sometimes hard to get when 
you’re self-employed. 

HotJobs.com 

www.hotjobs.com 

This job-hunting site has about 
3,000 registered recruiters 


looking over the resumes of 
over 300,000 people who have 
listed themselves. What’s dif- 
ferent and interesting here is 
that headhunters aren’t al- 
lowed, and you can block your 
resume from being seen by 
companies you specify. 

Monster.com 

www.monster.com 

The most compelling addi- 
tion to this massive job-hunt- 
ing site is the Talent Market, a 
place where 97,000 e-lancers 
have put their skills up for 
bids. In case you’d rather find 
a more traditional job, you 
can search the database by lo- 
cation and 
company, 
create a re- 
sume, apply 
online, and 
research 
companies. 

Networker.com 

www.networker.com 

Much of your professional 
success comes through the 
people you know and the peo- 
ple you meet. But where can 



you find them? Net- 
worker.com has edi- 
tors in 21 major cities 
whose job it is to alert you to 
events, trade shows, and asso- 


Ineil 

Ml 

.com 


ciation meetings in 
your areas of expertise. 
Just sign up and tell the 
site where you live and what 
you’re interested in. 


CHAT/INSTANT MESSAGING 



AOL Instant 
Messenger (AIM) 

www.aol.com/aim/ 

AOL Instant Mes- 
senger is the most 
popular instant- 
messaging (IM) 
client around, and it’s a good 
place to start. The download is 
fast and easy, and if you’re al- 
ready an AOL user, you can use 
your current screen name and 
password. Within office work- 
groups, IM is taking off as a 
faster and easier method of 
communication than e-mail. 

ICQ.com 

www.icq.com 

Long before latecomers like 
Microsoft tried to muscle in, 
ICQ_was the tool Web users 
downloaded to handle instant 
messaging. The latest addi- 
tion: a feature that lets you 
create ICQ_ communities 
around special interests. 


The Palace 

www.thepalace.com 

More than a million users are 
fiercely loyal to The Palace’s 
world of avatar-driven com- 
munities, some of which even 
intermingle live streaming 
video. Want to give your ava- 
tar a voice? m 
No problem. * - 
That’s the 
newest en- 
hancement to 
the software. 

PowWow 

www.powwow.com 

This instant-messaging client 
isn’t nearly as well known as 
those from AOL, MSN.com, 
or Yahoo!, but it will be, given 
the ability of Version 4.0, 
which won our Editors’ 
Choice (“Chat Goes to Work,” 
1/18/99), to intermingle mes- 
sages from AIM, MSN 
Messenger, and PowWow 



HOW THEY BUILT 
A VISUAL GUIDE 


Client 

requests URL 




HOSTING Each of the five profiled 
sites is hosted with an ISP instead of 
being maintained in-house. Lonely 
Planet Online currently shares a server 
cluster with several other sites. The 
other profiled sites collocate their 
servers at one or more ISPs, but the 
site owners maintain the equipment 
themselves. 


IT: On the following pages, we look under the hood of five of our Top 100 sites: 
" Anyday.com, Dell.com, Lonely Planet Online, Outpost.com, and Surf Monkey. 


SERVERS Each profiled site uses a load-balanced 
cluster of servers to manage the site’s demands. The 
sites generate dynamic content using anything from 
simple CGI scripts to custom-built tools and third- 
party application servers. 


Jr _ 

— Personalization 

r 1 



AUTHORING Many of the sites use 
Macromedia's Dreamweaver to create 
their pages and templates, but a 
surprising amount of coding is still 
being done by hand in Windows 
Notepad. JavaScript is often employed 
to make the pages richer and more 
dynamic. Images are typically 
developed in Adobe Photoshop. 


❖ 


rl 


Image editing 



Application 

server 


V K1 


— 

L 

J QJ 

* 

</TITLE> 
<META ht 


Hfl 

Web page 

equ1v=”e 



creation 

CflflT.ENIf 


Scripting/ 

programming 


146 


PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8. 2000 











users. Now 
everyone you 
know who 

uses instant PowWow 

messaging by Tribal Voice - 

can show up in one very full- 
featured PowWow window, 
and you can keep track of who 
comes from where. The win- 
dow is also a minibrowser, 
with its own search tool and 
tabs that deliver Web-based 
information. 


Talk City 

www.talkcity.com 

This chat site is more than just 
a hangout for a million people 
chatting under the watchful 
eyes of 2,000 moderators. It 
also farms itself out to other 
sites, providing community and 
home-page services to the likes 
of Amazon.com, MSN.com, and 
NBC.com. Businesses can hire 
Talk City to run online focus 
groups and conduct research. 


COMMUNITY/ OPINION 


deja 

.com* 


> Am & t ntimammcnt 

• Am.wranv'j 

• OwnmUtaJ AJfoch 

» ItaslitiA-EBnasa 

> Ito.mc-Ai.wr9x 
» Lilcat»fci 

• Honey. 

> Poto.tox A..W<toka 


Deja.com 

www.deja.com 

This site is 
something of a 
consumer free- 
for-all, where 
people come to 
rate their fa- 
vorite things in 
countless cate- 
gories, take 
polls, and share 
opinions. It’s a HHH 
big and boisterous community 
with plenty of commerce 
links, so you can chat about 
Jodie Foster movies, rate them, 
and then buy them easily. 

Epinions.com 

www.epinions.com 

Nothing will inspire you to 
buy a particular product, read 
a particular book, or see a new 
movie faster than positive 
word of mouth. Epinions.com 
collects people’s opinions 
about the things they buy, and 
as you read them (and share 
your own opinions), you flag 
the people and the opinions 
that you find most useful. The 
site pays you from 1 to 3 cents 
per page view if people read 
the reviews you write. 

RemarQ 

www.remarq.com 

This site offers more than 
30,000 discussion forums that 
are easier to navigate and 
search through than tradition- 
al newsgroups. You can search 


H 

H 

5 

> 

w 


O 

X 


AnyDay.com 


for messages within a specific 
forum, keep track of your fa- 
vorite discussions in a sepa- 
rate area within a forum (and 
on your personalized home 
page), and find the best dis- 
cussions by taking advantage 
of the site’s four-star rating 
system. 

Topica 

www.topica.com 

Often overlooked in the online 
discussion and community 
hubbub are special-interest 
mailing lists, which were actu- 
ally one of the Internet’s first 
tools for letting like-minded 
people communicate with 
each other. Topica hasn’t for- 
gotten: The site gives you the 
tools you need to manage your 
participation in several mail- 
ing lists (there are more than 
40,000 to 
IL ^ choose from) 

tonir^ or t0 set up 

lUpIv^U your own. 

XpertSite.com 

www.xpertsite.com 

Sites that offer experts who 
are willing to answer your 
questions are popping up all 
over the Web. At XpertSite 
.com, most experts participate 
for love, not money. They 
want to share what they know, 
build reputations as experts 
(you can rate your experiences 
with an expert), and maybe 
drum up some business along 
the way. 


■I— _■ 


AnyDay.com has been around for only a 
year but has already made significant 
changes to the development process and 
hosting of its Web site. It’s an online PIM 
(personal information manager), providing day plan- 
ners, contact databases, and alerts to public events 
that may be of interest, including sporting events, book 
releases, and movie premieres. Created by three devel- 
opers, AnyDay.com was initially a Microsoft-centric 
site, hosted on Windows NT servers rented from an 
Internet service provider. Today, AnyDay.com has a 
development staff of 20, relies on Linux and Solaris, 
and rents nothing more than rack space and band- 
width from its service provider. 

AnyDay originally developed its site with Windows 
NT using Microsoft Active Server Pages, JavaScript, 
and an Oracle database. Developers coded most of the 
pages by hand and used Adobe Photoshop for creating 
graphics. During an initial beta 
phase, Digix, an ISP in Washington, 

D.C., hosted AnyDay.com. Digix 
owned the site’s servers and 
insisted on managing those 
servers. 

Within months, this situation 
proved untenable. Based in 
Boston, AnyDay.com’s developers 
felt that the servers were too far 
away and found Digix’s efforts at 
management— meant to help — a 
hindrance. “An Internet site is 
always developing and changing 
rapidly,” says Greg Arsenal, vice 
president of technology at AnyDay. “We ended up 
needing to have a geographic proximity.” 

So the company bought its own HP servers, start- 
ed managing them, and set them up at a Boston 
branch of Exodus, AnyDay’s new service provider. 
Today, the site is hosted on several systems: a few 
Windows NT servers, a Solaris database server, and 
several Linux machines. Only recently did AnyDay 
move into what Arsenal calls “a Linux-based, more 
Java-centric space.” 

The company has made an effort to use the right 
platform for the right task. “We try to do best-of-breed 
rather than one-stop shopping,” says Arsenal. AnyDay 
uses Windows NT because it can accommodate por- 
tions of the site developed in the past; Linux for several 
new services, including Web-based and content-based 
services running behind the Web servers; and Solaris 
and Oracle because of their perceived scalability. “Our 
application has to be extremely responsive,” says 
Arsenal, “and it has to very scalable — to millions of 
customers .”— Cade Metz 


INCONTROL 

AnyDay.com 
maintains its 
own servers 
at its ISP, 
preferring the 
control that 
collocation 
affords. 


FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 147 






TOP 100 WEB SITES 


COMPUTING 


CNET 

http://cnet.com 

This well-designed technology 
portal reports on computing 
products and trends and dis- 
cusses living with the technol- 
ogy around us. You’ll find tech- 
nology news, product reviews, 
and links to its TV shows. Head 
to Download.com for free soft- 
ware and to Gamecenter.com 
for fun and games. 

McAfee.com 

www.mcafee.com 

You proba- 
bly know 
McAfee for 
its antivirus 
tools, but its 
site offers 
much more 
for the con- 
scientious 
PC owner. For $29.95 a year, 
you can subscribe to the 
McAfee Clinic, a collection of 
Web-based apps to keep your 
PC tuned up and virus-free. 

yHelpdesk.com 

www.myhelpdesk.com 

At MyHelpdesk.com, 1,500 
products are covered: You get 
quick access to vendor re- 
sources and phone numbers; 
chat rooms and message 
boards related to each product; 
instant access to the latest tips, 
updates, and news about 
the applications you use; 
and FAQs for each appli- 
cation and product. 


Service911.com 

www.service911.com 

This new and rather remark- 
able site wants to help you 
solve your computing prob- 
lems, and it’s willing to pro- 
vide real live human beings 
to help you get the job done. 
Have a question? Check out a 
video tutorial. Not good 
enough? E-mail your ques- 
tion and an expert will an- 
swer within a day. Not fast 
enough? Chat live with an ex- 
pert who will tackle your 
questions. Still stumped? Ask 
an expert to come to your 
home or office (for a fee). 

ZDNet 

www.zdnet.com 

This massive technology por- 
tal — and PC Magazine's home 
on the Web — underwent a re- 
design in October to bring 
its many resources to the sur- 
face. The site offers a seeming- 
ly endless supply of breaking 
news, analysis, and product 
and game reviews (with links 
to current prices), and the 
huge Software Library contin- 
ues to add dozens of down- 
loads each day. At SmartPlan- 
et.com, you can choose from 
among 350 computing courses, 
and the recently added Up- 
dates. com lets you regis- 
ter for automatic notification 
when your 
software 
needs a 
fix. 


Protect 

yourself 


from today’s 
ruses 



ENTERTAINMENT 


CBS SportsLine 

www.sportsline.com 

Though ESPN 
.com has 
been on our 
Top 100 list 
many times, 
CBS Sports- 
Line is catch- 
ing our eye 
these days 

148 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


with its elaborate, statistics- 
filled, and visually appealing 
live broadcasts for sports 
such as baseball and basket- 
ball. The SportsPlayer down- 
load mixes a small streaming 
video image with all sorts of 
stats, and if you’re truly ad- 
dicted, drop the Newscenter 
ticker onto your desktop for 
frequent updates. 



The Internet Movie 
Database 

www.imdb.com 

The IMDB, owned by Ama- 
zon.com, is a longtime mem- 
ber of our list. Use it to find 
information on more than 
216,000 movies; it will never 
let you down. But that’s just 
the start. You’ll also find 
local movie times, enter- 
tainment headlines, re- 
views, and columns. 

MP3.com 

mp3.com 


Real.com Guide 

www.real.com 

This site is nothing less than a 
streaming media portal, guid- 
ing you to all the best the Web 
has to offer in audio and 
video, including MP3 down- 
loads. You’ll also find links to 
online radio stations and to 
Take5, the 
site’s daily 
index of fun 
streaming Web content, se- 
lected each night by a team of 
RealNetworks editors. 



1999 was a wild year for the 
MP3 music format. More PC 
users (and more record com- 
panies) now understand that 
MP3 is the future of music de- 
livery. MP3.c0m is the place to 
get your MP3 collection start- 
ed and to learn what you need 
to know. You’ll also get access 
to thousands of 
legitimate song 
downloads. 


Scour 

www.scour.net 

As the Web’s most complete 
guide to broadband content, 
Scour feels a little ahead of its 
time, though those with fast ac- 
cess will certainly flock to its 
900 movie trailers, 1,200 music 
videos, and its collection of on- 
line radio stations. Its search 
engine specializes in hunting 
down multimedia content. 



FAMILY/EDUCATION 


Ask Jeeves for Kids 

www.ajkids.com 

Like its big brother Ask 
Jeeves, Ask Jeeves for Kids 
lets you frame your Web 
search queries in plain Eng- 
lish. Having been vetted by 
editors, all the results are 
deemed to be child-friendly. 
AJKids has also found a place 
in the classroom. 


Disney.com 

www.disney.com 

Oh, Pooh! Disney.com, 
part of the GO Net- 
work, is a very interactive site, 
with many different activities 
for kids and lots of content for 
parents, most of which, of 
course, is geared toward mar- 
keting Disney’s abundance of 
products and characters. 



Discovery Kids 

www.discoverykids.com 

This spin-off of the Discovery 
Channel will captivate any 
curious child with its supply 
of projects, adventures, and 
articles about the world 
around us. Don’t miss the Au- 
tomatic Adventure Personali- 
ty Profile, which lets kids per- 
sonalize the site. 



SuperFamily.com 

www.superfamily.com 

Want to set up a Web site so 
your extended family can ex- 
change photos, news, and cal- 
endars? This is the place to 
do it, where free sites are a 
breeze to set up and main- 
tain. (You get 15MB of storage 
and can pay for more.) The 
photography tools are most 
notable here, but you can also 
create a family newspaper, 
share shopping and wish 
lists, hold discussions, and 
trade e-mail messages. Also 






check out SuperFriends.com, 
for groups of friends. 

SurfMonkey Kids 
Channel 

www.surfmonkey.com 

Parents who worry about 
where their kids go on the Web 


should take 
a look at 
this fun and 
family-friendly Web directory. 
Every link is guaranteed to be 
great for kids, and you can add 
the SurfMonkey Bar for safer 
surfing. 



FINANCE/INVESTING 


Charles Schwab 

www.schwab.com 

Schwab doesn’t offer the 
cheapest rates for online trad- 
ing, but in our survey of Web 
site satisfaction (“Readers Rate 
the Web,” November 1 6, 1999) it 
gained high marks for research 
tools and customer support. 

MSN MoneyCentral 

http://moneycentral.msn.com 

All of MSN MoneyCentral 
now lives up to the excellence 
of the Investor portion of the 
site. You’ll find subsections 
devoted to every aspect of 
your financial life. Recent ad- 
ditions to the site include 
electronic bill payment, limit- 
ed real-time stock quotes, a 
revamped portfolio manager, 
and a new 40i(k) planner. 

Quicken.com 

http://quicken.com 

Investing, mortgage, insur- 
ance, taxes, banking, and re- 
tirement: You’ll find services 
related to all of these at this fi- 
nancial portal. The goal is to 
aggregate everything having 
to do with your finances into 
one site. Every service at the 



site, be it an getting an insur- 
ance quote, finding a mutual 
fund, or planning retirement, 
is easy to use, with lots of 
drop-down menus and step- 
by-step instructions. 

TD Waterhouse 

www.tdwaterhouse.com 

This online stock-trading site 
was lauded in our November 
survey of Web site satisfaction 
for its low rates — typically 
just $12 per trade. You’ll find 
extensive amounts of free re- 
search, 24-hour customer ser- 

tfMtt||^Over 1,400 mutual 
nH| funds with no 
RjiHr transaction fees. 


vice and technical support, 
and a real-world network of 
160 branch offices. The site 
also offers access to 8,900 mu- 
tual funds and free IRAs. 

TheStreet.com 

http://thestreet.com 

TheStreet.com has the best 
online financial journalism 
around. You’ll have to pay for 
it, though: The service costs 
$9.95 per month or $99.95 per 
year. Try it out first with a 30- 
day free trial, and even if you 
don’t end up paying you’ll still 
be able to access some of the 
site’s great information. 


LIFESTYLE 


AnyDay.com 

www.anyday.com 

AnyDay.com is the best non- 
portal-based online calendar. 
Designed by Lotus Organizer 
alumni, the site includes an in- 


tegrated calendar, address 
book, reminder service, and 
task manager with an event 
directory that lets you blend 
in your favorite sports events 
or TV shows. 


H 

H 


Dell.com 



In 1996, Michael Dell asked his Web devel- 
opment team to build an e-commerce site 
that could handle 50 percent of all Dell 
computer sales. “At the time, we thought 
that was quite a stretch,” says John Zogland, Dell’s 
director of online technology, “but now we’re getting 
very close to reaching that goal.” The success of 
Dell.com happened with help from Microsoft software 
and Dell PCs and servers. Dell still relies on that combi- 
nation, but the company recently added its own XML 
publishing tool. 

From the beginning, Dell.com relied on Microsoft’s 
Internet server products, including ISS (Internet Infor- 
mation Server), Commerce Server, and SQL Server. “We 
were one of the first [major PC sales sites]," says Zog- 
land, “so we’ve had to build a fair amount of things on 
our own using the core tool set from Microsoft.” First 
hosted only in Austin, Texas, the site now resides on 
Windows NT-equipped Dell servers 
in many more locations. “Globally,” 
says Zogland, “we have multiple 
ISPs, and we have redundant geogra 
phy— servers in Austin, the U.K., 

Japan, and others.” 

In the past, Dell would hand- 
code or build Web pages using 
standard authoring products such 
as Microsoft FrontPage, but such 
methods soon became inade- 
quate. The content Dell wanted to 
have on the site was changing 
faster than people could code. In 
addition, Dell.com expanded, and 
content was starting to vary from 
country to country. “Historically, 
even in the major regions,” says 
Zogland, “they would have a lag 
time getting content out, because 
the new product information would be out, but they 
would have to wait for someone to rebuild the pages 
and retranslate a lot of the material.” 

Dell found the answer in XML (extensible Markup 
Language). Making extensive use of XML, Dell created a 
customized publishing tool that let all Dell developers 
in all parts of the globe use the same predefined set of 
scripts to create all new Web pages. Each page re- 
tained the site’s familiar appearance while dynamically 
drawing content from an independently updated data- 
base of models, components, prices, and so on. “The 
real advantage of this tool,” says Zogland, “is that our 
customers around the world have access to data in real 
time.” Now, though the core of the Web site is main- 
tained primarily in Austin and the U.K., pages are creat- 
ed in more than 80 different countries .— CM 


THINK 

GLOBAL 

Dell built its 
own tools to 
preserve a 
consistent 
look across all 
versions of its 
Web site while 
incorporating 
the latest, 
region-specif- 
ic content. 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 149 







TOP 100 WEB SITES 


eHobbies 

www.ehobbies.com 

Here’s a really good example 
of a vertical portal, a site de- 
signed to serve all the needs of 
a particular niche — in this 
case, the millions of people ob- 
sessed with model trains and 
rockets, radio-controlled vehi- 
cles, and so on. There are arti- 
cles and tips on every relevant 
topic, sensible shopping that 


A Parent's Guide to 



Rocketry 

ForKids * 


covers all the categories, lively 
communities full of aficiona- 
dos, and an online magazine. 


eHow 

www.ehow.com 

How do you set a table? Treat 
a cold? Ask for a raise? You 
can find detailed responses to 
thousands of questions at 
eHow, and each answer is ac- 
companied by a list of items 
you may want to buy to help 
with the task you’re trying to 
accomplish. Though the shop- 
ping side of the site needs 
work, the answers to the ques- 
tions are fun and sometimes 
educational. 


Evite.com 

www.evite.com 

When you have to organize 
any kind of event for 6, 8, 20, 


CREATE AN EV1TE NOW! 

® ® ® © 

Mcwi« Dinner Thankymvlnq Milkniurn 

50, or even 100 people, you’ve 
got to call or e-mail everyone, 
collect RSVPs, give directions, 
and make sure you don’t end 
up with 20 bowls of potato 
salad. Evite.com automates 
everything. You fill out a form 
that describes all the parame- 
ters of the event and all the in- 
vitees get an e-mail directing 
them to the Web, where they 
encounter a mini-Web site de- 
voted to your event. 

seelithere 

www.seeuthere.com 

Like Evite.com, seeUthere 
helps you organize events on- 
line, but it also tackles larger- 
scale meetings and includes 
tools for ticketing. That means 
you can use it for things like 
charity fund-raisers, confer- 
ences, and reunions, and you 
can make contact with your 
list of invitees via fax, letter, 
postcard, or e-mail. People 


■ Association mootings 

can RSVP by 

• Awards dinners 

phone, and 

* College reunions 

the site can 

• Conferences 

• Conventions 

handle cred- 

it card trans- 

• Fundraisers 

actions. 

• Holiday galas 

(There are 

\ Seminars 

fees for all 

• Speaker events 

• Training classes 

these ser- 

And more ... 

vices.) 


PORTALS/START PAGES 


About.com 

www.about.com 

At first glance, About.com 
looks like any other directory 
or portal, but who are those 
people on the home page? 
They’re a few of the site’s 650 
guides, people who have 
signed up to take responsibil- 
ity for a particular subcatego- 
ry within the site’s 18 major 


categories. Anyone with a par- 
ticular area of expertise is in- 
vited to apply. 

Lycos 

www.lycos.com 

In the past, we’ve questioned 
Lycos’s strategy of letting 
each addition to its network 
(Angelfire, HotBot, Tripod, 
and the rest) keep its distinct 


LYCOS Your Personal Internet Guide 

<s> 


identity. But now that Lycos 
has universal registration 
across all its sites and an om- 
nipresent channel bar, things 
are better. Meanwhile, the site 
has beefed up its searching, 
with tools that scan thou- 
sands of non-Web-based re- 
sources. 

MSN.com 

www.msn.com 

MSN.com is now a highly 
evolved portal competitor 
with a brand-new interface, 
featuring a universal in-box 

eShop 

that handles both e-mail and 
chat threads; MSN Mobile, for 
sending news headlines and 
stock quotes to wireless gad- 
gets, including cell phones; 
free home-page building; a 
vastly improved search en- 
gine; and a new shopping di- 
rectory. 


Yahoo! 

www.yahoo.com 

Yahoo! is now the center of 
many people’s Web experi- 
ences. It includes auctions, 
shopping, Web store setup, 
chats, and instant messaging. It 
was our Editors’ Choice pick 
for portals (“Start Here,” 
10/5/99), and in our November 
survey of Web site satisfaction, 
readers gave the site the only A 
grade awarded to a portal. 


Yahooligans! 

www.yahooligans.com 


Kids use the Web, too, and 
they deserve their own portal 
to guide them to appropriate 
content. The editors who put 
together Yahooligans!, a kid- 
friendly subset of the massive 
Yahoo! directory, have done a 
great job of creating a useful 
window 
into the 
Web for 
children. 



Ploy Now! 


REFERENCE 


Ask Jeeves 

www.ask.com 

Like Ask Jeeves for Kids, Ask 
Jeeves lets you do your Web 
research by asking questions 
in plain English. Then it 
scours the Web for the an- 
swers and provides you with 
links to the information. In 
practice, the system works 
reasonably well, although it 
can disappoint at times. 


Britannica.com 

www.britannica.com 



Unbelievable. The contents of 
the Encyclopaedia Britannica 
are available online free, along 
with related articles from 76 
top magazines and links to 
125,000 Web sites. It’s a re- 
markable research tool, and 
when you think about it, it’s 
probably worth the cost of a 


computer to have such a re- 
source available. 

DeepCanyon 

www.deepcanyon.com 

This spin-off from Hewlett- 
Packard is a research site tar- 
geted at computer and Inter- 
net marketers. It aggregates 
all sorts of industry research, 
making some available free 
and some for a fee. The result 
is a remarkably useful and in- 
formative site. 

GuruNet 

www.guru.net 

GuruNet isn’t a site but 
rather a free download that 
takes advantage of the power 
of the Web to perform in- 
stant, one-click research on 
any word you read or type. 
Click on the word Ford and if 
it’s before the word Motor, 
GuruNet gives you a brief 
company profile, a stock 
chart of the past year, a chart 


PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


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TOP 100 WEB SITES 


of the cur- 
rent day’s 
stock ac- 
tivity, and 
links to recent news stories 
on Ford Motor Co. Click on 
Ford when it follows Henry 
and GuruNet retrieves a bio- 
graphical profile from The 
Concise Columbia Electronic 
Encyclopedia. 


lnfoSpace.com 

http://infospace.com 

You may not know it, but Info- 
Space.com is the power behind 
many of the directories you 
find all over the Web. Every- 
thing from people finders to 
the Yellow Pages to maps is 
here, so you can bookmark this 
one site and probably erase ten 
other reference bookmarks. 



SEARCH 


AltaVista 

www.av.com 

Too many ownership changes 
have left AltaVista struggling 
for an identity, but its latest 
look, unveiled last fall, sends 
it in the direction of portals. 
It’s more like Yahoo! than ever 
and includes a customizable 
home page for the first time 
(featuring audio and video), 
along with more direct links 
to Shopping.com (which the 
site owns), discussions, and 
even the promise of free In- 
ternet access. 

Direct Hit 

www.directhit.com 

Like Google, Direct Hit, which 
is integrated into such sites 
as HotBot, LookSmart, and 
Lycos, is a relevance engine 
that analyzes the activities of 

direct 

One Search Engine. Millions of Minds. 

millions of previous Internet 
searchers to determine the 
most relevant sites for your 
search request. 

Google 

www.google.com 

This unique search engine 
started out as a Stanford Uni- 
versity project designed to 
find the most relevant Web 
pages (those with the most in- 
bound links) and run searches 
against them. Since February 
1999 it’s been a commercial 
venture, and given its uncan- 
ny knack for returning ex- 

PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



tremely relevant results, it’s 
destined to succeed. 


HotBot 

www.hotbot.com 

This search site won an Edi- 
tors’ Choice in our evaluation 
of search sites (“Start Here,” 
IO /5/99); it’s part of The Lycos 
Network, and it performs fast, 
accurate searches that deliver 
relevance-ranked results. 
Search within date ranges, 
then do a second search from 
the results of your First search. 
The results: better search re- 
turns. 

Northern Light 

www.northernlight.com 

This two-time winner of our 
Editors’ Choice for Web 
searching puts your search re- 
sults into folders based on 
their sources, making it easier 
for you to figure out which re- 
sults you should focus your at- 
tention on. The site also pro- 
vides access to non-Web- 
based information from over 
5,400 magazines, newswires, 
and academic journals that 
you can’t find anywhere else 
online. New to the site is 
SearchAlert, 
which e-mails 
you when an 
item in a cate- 
gory you’ve 
specified is 
added. 



CQ 

> 

ill 

X 

H 

5 

O 



Lonely Planet Online 

You don’t need a staff of hundreds to 
create a successful Web site. Operated by 
Lonely Planet Publications, a travel book 
company founded in the early 1970s in 
Melbourne, Australia, Lonely Planet Online speaks to 
the international tourist, profiles destinations, and 
facilitates travel. It includes several interactive soft- 
ware tools— a bulletin board for those seeking travel 
advice, e-mail services, and so on— but consists mainly 
of text and iconography. Writers and editors aside, the 
site is maintained and developed by a staff of three; an 
outside company provides all the hosting. 

To build the site, Lonely Planet uses Macromedia’s 
Dreamweaver. Many of the site’s tools are run by spe- 
cialized CGI scripts written in Perl. “I get quite a few e- 
mails asking how we did this or how we did that,” says 
Matt Eckhaus, the Lonely Planet Webmaster. “People 
are hoping there’s a particular 
product we’re using, but most of 
the time we’re using a script we 
cooked up.” The developers use 
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, as 
well as MetaCreations’ Painter, to 
create the site’s graphics. Eckhaus 
and his two designers work on 
machines running Windows 98 
and Linux. 

Connect.com, a service 
provider in Melbourne, hosts 
Lonely Planet’s site. Connect.com 
shares space with several other 
Australian Web sites on a cluster 
of four or five Sun Solaris ma- 
chines running Apache, the open- 
source Web server. Lonely Planet Online is staged and 
tested on servers at Lonely Planet’s offices, then trans- 
ferred via FTP and Async, another open-source tool, to 
Connect.com. 

Lonely Planet has recently moved its Web develop- 
ment team to Oakland, California to achieve smoother 
interaction with companies, such as Yahoo!, that li- 
cense the site’s content. Soon, the company will chose 
a new service provider and also move the site state- 
side. “We’re moving not because we're unhappy with 
our service provider in Melbourne,” says Eckhaus, “but 
because nine-tenths of our traffic comes from the 
States, and bandwidth is cheaper.” 

Increasingly popular, Lonely Planet Online receives 
over 350,000 page views a day (according to the com- 
pany), but content is meant to supplement the compa- 
ny’s travel book business. Eckhaus does anticipate 
significant improvements to the site, including more 
interactive tools and automation. You can do much 
more on the Web than you can in a travel book.— CM 


IT DOESN’T 
TAKE A 
VILLAGE 

One of the 
best travel 
sites around, 
Lonely Planet 
Online is 
run by 
just three 
staffers. 


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TOP 100 WEB SITES 


SHOPPING ASSISTANTS 


BizRate.com 

www.bizrate.com 

Which online stores really 
know how to serve their cus- 
tomers? The answer is at 


bizrate.com 
BS 

[Categories 


We rate e-business. ' 


^ ^ Rapid Report 


go, and you may have to wait 
several days to find out — but 
Mercata is also valuable as a 
research site, since it can give 
you a good idea of how much 
a particular item should cost. 

mySimon 


BizRate.com, a site that com- 
piles information from satis- 
faction surveys attached to 
over 1,700 stores. The result: 
ratings of up to five stars that 
reflect how shoppers feel 
about a store’s ordering 
process, selection, and prices. 

DealTime 

www.dealtime.com 

This shopping bot is unique. 
Unlike its competitors, it stays 
on the case even if you can’t 
find the item you want at the 
price you want. Just give it 
those two pieces of information 
and it will continue to search 
the Web for you until it finds 
the item. Then it will notify you 
in the downloadable Desktop 
Notifier and you can go make 
the purchase. 

Mercata 

www.mercata.com 

The concept here is simple: If 
a gang of people can get to- 
gether to make a volume pur- 
chase of laptops, VCRs, or any- 
thing else, they’ll get a better 
deal. This method of shopping 
isn’t for everyone — you can’t 
be sure how low the price will 


SHOPPING: 


Chtifiiboxom 

www.chumbo.com 

This online software super- 
store was awarded our Editors’ 
Choice for the second time in 
our most recent 
shopping evalu- 
ation (“E-Shop- 
ping Spree,” 
11/16/99). The 
site is arranged 
by six easy-to- 



www.mysimon.com 

This is the shopping bot to 
beat. An Editors’ Choice win- 
ner (“E-Shopping Spree,” 
11/16/99), mySimon queries so 
many sites (more than 1,700— 
it looks at 15 for tea alone) that 
it does a better job of finding 
the best deal 
than other 
shopping 
agents do. 
The site is 
divided into 
dozens of 
categories 
that cover just about any item 
you’re likely to buy. 

Productopia 

www.productopia.com 

Productopia goes to the trouble 
of teaching you about the cate- 
gory you’re shopping in before 
it sends you off to shop at rec- 
ommended stores (or dispatch- 
es a bot to shop for you). Be in- 
formed: Read the tutorial and 
visit the discussion group be- 
fore you de- 
cide which 
watch, pants, 
or garden trac- 
tor you want. 




COMPUTING 


browse main categories, and 
the posted reviews from users 
and ZDNet give it a sense of 
community. Meanwhile, the 
excellent downloadable soft- 
ware section points users to- 
ward the future. 

Deil.com 

www.dell.com 

This PC shopping site earned a 
grade of A in our survey of 


Web site 
satisfaction 
(“Readers 
Rate the 
Web,” 11/16/99), and it’s easy to 
see why. Everything about the 
site is geared toward helping 
you shop easily and maintain 
your system once you start 
using it. Express Service codes 
assigned to each PC tell sup- 
port reps how it’s configured, 
and Dell will send an e-mail to 
you when new drivers or up- 
dates become available . 

Gateway 

www.gateway.com 

An Editors’ Choice in our 
evaluation of PC shopping 
sites (“Where to Shop in PC 
Land,” 9/1/99), Gateway’s 
Web store takes a useful step- 
by-step approach to guiding 
you toward the right system 
for your needs. Peripherals 
and software sold on the site 
often come with rebates, so 
look for the best deals you can 
find. You’ll also find a Techni- 
cal Assistant wizard that will 


SHOPPING 


Amazon.com 

www.amazon.com 

amazon.com 

This Editors’ Choice-win- 
ning online book, music, 
video, electronics, and toy 
store (“E-Shopping Spree,” 
11/16/99) just keeps getting 
bigger, most recently with 
the addition of auctions, four 
new shopping departments, 
and the daring zShops, which 
gives any retailer willing to 
fork over a portion of the 
proceeds the ability to use 
Amazon.com’s infrastructure 
(Amazon.com takes respon- 
sibility for customer ser- 
vice). Our readers like it, too. 
The site received a grade of 
A in our survey of Web site 
satisfaction (“Readers Rate 
the Web,” 11/16/99). 


help you diagnose a variety of 
PC problems. 

NECX 

www.necx.com 

This shopping site earned a 
grade of A in our November 
survey of Web site satisfac- 
tion. More than 25,000 shop- 
pers stop by each day to look 
at 30,000 computer products 
from 1,100 manufacturers. The 
site will even tell you what its 
competitors are charging for 
the items you’re interested in. 

Outpost.com 

www.outpost.com 

Some online computing stores 
slap you with hidden transac- 
tion and handling fees as you 
check out. Not this Editors’ 
Choice-winning store (“E- 
Shopping Spree,” 11/16/99). It 
offers the TruePrice system, 
which shows you the complete 
price of an item delivered to 
your door, so there will be no 
surprises, and you’ll find a 30- 
day, money-back guarantee on 
every item as well. 


fashionmall.com 

www.fashionmall.com 

Just like a real mall, fashion- 
mall.com brings together 
dozens of stores you know and 
lets you search through them 
side by side. Looking for a 
white shirt? Compare offerings 
from Banana Re- 
public, Brooks 
Brothers, Gap, and 
many more. You 
can shop in as 
many stores as you 
like, but you’ll only 
check out once: 

Watch for the free 
deals at the bottom 
of the home page. 

FreeShop.com 

www.freeshop.com 

Tired of online shopping? 
Why not try some online grab- 
bing instead? At FreeShop. 



EPARTMENT STORES 



154 


PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 






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TOP 100 WEB SITES 


com, the directory lists over 
1,000 freebies you can find on- 
line. True, most of them are 
catalogs, newsletters, coupons, 
and sample magazines, but 
you may find something in a 
category that interests you, 
and you can use the site as a 
jumping-off point to the areas 
you care about most. 


iQVC 

www.iqvc.com 


Among online department 
stores, iQVC received the high- 
est ratings in our November 
survey of Web site satisfac- 
tion. Years of experience in 



television sales have equipped 
the site well for services such 
as merchandise returns and 
exchanges. The site is orga- 
nized into seven sections that 
include the Last Clicks outlet, 
a bargain bin. 

Netmarket.com 

www.netmarket.com 

This Editors’ Choice-winning 
superstore offers all the essen- 
tials, such as detailed, depart- 
ment-specific search engines 
and one-click product com- 
parisons. Members (who pay 
$69.95 P er year) can find a 
wide variety of deals on all 
sorts of merchandise that is 
loosely categorized into seven 
“stores,” along with the close- 
out-oriented “Flea Market.” 


SHOPPING PERSON-TO-PERSON 


Andale 

www.andale.com 

Did you know that some peo- 
ple have built entirely new ca- 
reers out of online auctioneer- 
ing? Andale provides a tool for 
aggregating all your auction ac- 
tivity into one interface, help- 
ing you automate your buying 
and selling and generating use- 
ful reports along the way. Sell- 
ers can even use the site to 
pool resources by having other 
sellers with more established 
online reputations sell their 
merchandise for them. 

auctions.com 

www.auctions.com 

Formerly known as Auction 
Universe, auctions.com is a 
slightly more calm and coher- 
ent buying and selling venue 
than eBay. Though the market 
may be smaller, the site is no 
less well equipped: It offers es- 
crow service from BidSafe, 
pager notification, and most of 
the other bells 
and whistles 
that you’d ex- 
pect from a 
fully evolved 
auction house. 


eBay 

www.ebay.com 

The Editors’ Choice-winning 
eBay (“E-Shopping Spree,” 
11/16/99), which also received 
a grade of A in our survey of 
Web site satisfaction (“Read- 
ers Rate the Web,” 11/16/99), 
has become a ~ 
cultural phe- I Sell your 
nomenon as W item 
millions have 

raced into their attics to dig up 
“precious collectibles” to sell. 

eWanted.com 

www.ewanted.com 

At this shopping site, you de- 
scribe exactly what you’re 
looking for and how much 
you’ll pay. Those requests are 
then read by registered dealers, 
stores, and individual sellers 
who have expertise in a partic- 
ular category of merchandise. 
If they have a match, they con- 
tact you (usually by e-mail). 

iWant.com 

www.iwant.com 

Like eWanted.com, iWant 
.com brings together individ- 
uals looking for specific 
items with individual sellers 



looking 
to buy? 



something 
to se/IZ 0 


find 


wants 


or stores that have what 
they’re looking for. Once the 
two parties connect, they can 


discuss final price and ship- 
ping arrangements privately 
via the site. This is a great 
way to find a particular back 
issue of a magazine or a 
unique collectible. 


SHOPPING: SPECIALTY 


Furniture.com 

www.furniture.com 



The smartest furniture shop- 
pers are heading to Furni- 
ture.com, where 50,000 items 
from 150 manufacturers are 
available for your perusal. The 
site’s customer service really 
shines. You can call to talk to 
an expert or chat online with 
one. Fabric swatches are avail- 
able via mail, and personal 
shoppers will e-mail you with 
a list of suggestions. 

Garden.com 

www.garden.com 

This store was one of the ear- 
liest successful online stores, 
and its reputation for excel- 
lence has only grown over 
time. Besides offering a mind- 
boggling number of products, 
it features an online magazine, 
active gardening chats, an on- 
line garden-design tool, and 
even a garden doctor who will 
tackle your questions. 

Hifi.com 

www.hifi.com 

How is Hifi.com different 
from other online consumer 
electronics stores? We like the 
high-end selection, the 45-day 


free home trial (the site will 
even pay return shipping), the 
excruciatingly detailed com- 
ponent setup and connection 
guides, the online experts 
who field your questions, the 
free shipping, and the price 
protection. 

Lands’ End 

www.landsend.com 

This well-known company 
has extended the catalog- 
shopping experience by tak- 
ing advantage of all kinds of 
online technologies (most no- 
tably, 3-D models that you 
configure to your body type 
and then dress to see how you 
look). Live customer-support 
representatives can chat with 
you online to help you find 
the items you want. 

Reel.com 

www.reel.com 

Need to buy a video or DVD? 
Reel.com is the place for 
movie lovers to shop. It earned 
a grade of A in our survey of 
Web site satis- 
faction (“Read- 
ers Rate the 
Web,” 11/16/99) 
and is widely 
regarded as one 
of the best-de- 
signed shop- 
ping sites in all 
of cyberspace. 



SMALL-BUSINESS SERVICES 


CenterBeam 

www.centerbeam.com 

You’re building a business, but 
you don’t know how to build a 
LAN and you can’t afford to 
hire an IT manager. Why not 
outsource absolutely every- 


thing? For a cost as low as 
$169.95 P er user P er month, 
CenterBeam will ship you 
preconfigured PCs and 
servers (including software) 
and then troubleshoot and 
manage them remotely. 


156 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 







eFax.com 

www.efax.com 

A free service, 
eFax.com has al- 
ready given over Postage from 
500,000 people their own pri- 
vate fax numbers. When 
someone sends you a fax, you 
receive it via e-mail, which 
means you’ll never miss a fax 
or suffer with a malfunction- 
ing machine again. 

myTalk 

www.mytalk.com 

This free ser- 
vice lets you 
call a toll-free 
number, hear 
and respond 
to your for- 
warded e-mail 
using voice 
commands, 
and make 
local and long-distance calls 
of up to 2 minutes within the 
United States. Recently, voice 
mail features have been 
added. That means people can 
call your myTalk number, 
enter your PIN, leave you a 
message, and give you their 
phone numbers. And after lis- 
tening to the message, you can 
simply say, “Call him back,” 
and away you go on a free 
2-minute call. 



Stamps.com 

www.stamps.com 

A software-only so- 
lution, Stamps.com 
your printer." delivers on-de- 
mand purchasing and printing 
of first-class, priority, and ex- 
press-mail postage for U.S. ad- 
dresses. Stamps.com users re- 
ceive free software and pay a 
monthly charge for postage 
purchases, plus a monthly 
usage fee that ranges from 
$1.99 to $19.99. The company’s 
recent purchase of iShip.com 
for coordinating all your ship- 
ping means that this is a true 
one-stop postal solution. 

Zkey.com 

www.zkey.com 

This Editors’ Choice-winning 
free service (First Looks, 
11/16/99) has a number of fea- 
tures that can help small busi- 
nesses. Most useful is the 
Zkey, an online identity con- 
taining as much public or pri- 
vate information as you 
choose to list. When you up- 
date it, it’s automatically up- 
dated for anyone who knows 
you by your Zkey ID. Zkey 
also includes lots of well-inte- 
grated PIM applications, 30MB 
of storage space for files, and 
private conferencing for virtu- 
al workgroups. 


SMALL-BUSINESS SETUP 


Bigstep.com 

www.bigstep.com 

This Editors’ Choice-winning 
Web storefront service 
(11/16/99) has excellent setup 
features including a conve- 
nient to-do list, and its design 
flexibility more than makes up 
for its biggest shortcoming: 
forcing users to sign up for a 
merchant account through the 
site if they wish to process 
credit card transactions. 

freemerchant.com 

www.freemerchant.com 

As its name suggests, this 
Editors’ Choice winner (“Set- 



s 

5 

CO 

> 

111 

X 

H 

5 

o 

X 


Outpost.com 


Shop 
Online,” 
, 11/16/99) is 
totally free. 
The trade- 
off is that you 
must display 
ads on your Web site. Fortu- 
nately, freemerchant.com will 
let you choose the advertisers 
that best suit your site. You 
also get top-notch importing 
features and exporting to In- 
tuit’s QuickBooks, a secure 
shopping cart, store-building 
tools, unlimited catalog list- 
ings, traffic logs, and an 
e-mail account. 




Selling consumer electronics and tech 
gifts to Internet users since 1995, Out- 
post.com has grown along with the Web. It 
began as a fairly simple site, coded by 
hand and hosted on a small cluster of servers, and has 
expanded, like any successful e-commerce site, into a 
complex operation relying on several specialized tools. 
It’s not nearly as large or complex a site as Dell.com, 
also profiled here, but Outpost.com employs more than 
20 developers and requires a collection of more than 
20 Sun SPARC host servers. 

Like so many early Web sites, the developers built 
Outpost with HTML code, CGI scripts written in Perl, and 
an Oracle database back end. For coding, they always 
used standard text editors, rather than authoring tools 
such as Macromedia’s Dreamweaver or Microsoft Front- 
Page, and they used applications such as Adobe Illustra- 
tor and Adobe Photoshop to create graphics. From 1995 
to 1997, developers replaced much 
of the Perl code with code written in 
C, ostensibly to gain better perfor- 
mance, and they added a search 
engine; but essentially they contin- 
ued with the same simple archi- 
tecture. 

In 1998, the company moved 
the site to Exodus, a well-known 
hosting service with facilities 
nearby. Ever since, Exodus has 
provided rack space and band- 
width for a large cluster of Out- 
post.com-owned servers. Current- 
ly, the site uses 22 Sun servers, 
running Solaris. “The price/perfor- 
mance ratio from Sun beats simi- 
lar products out there,” says Ken Issacson, director of 
systems operations. “And we felt that there we had 
more people who were familiar with the Sun architec- 
ture.” The back end still runs Oracle, and Netscape 
Enterprise Server handles the Web serving. “When we 
started,” continues Issacson, “Netscape was the most 
commercially supported package.” 

In 1998, Outpost changed the site’s core software 
framework, adopting BroadVision’s One-To-One Com- 
merce Server, a Web development application for large 
e-commerce sites. “BroadVision provides content 
management and personalization, and it’s a lot more 
scalable than what we were using before,” says James 
Kindred, Outpost.com’s director of development. The 
company has also introduced a new search engine, 
Verity, part of the Verity Information Server, as well as 
iContact, a tool that lets you have text-based conversa- 
tions with Outpost.com customer-service representa- 
tives without leaving your browser —CM 


GETTING 

PERSONAL 

Outpost.com 
uses Broad- 
Vision’s appli- 
cation servers 
and iContact’s 
live support 
tools to get 
closer to its 
customers. 


FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 157 





HOW THEY BUILT IT 


TOP 100 WEB SITES 


Surf Monkey Kids Channel 




The Surf Monkey Kids Channel, an animat- 
ed portal for children, began life as a Web 
browser for kids. It has a colorful, easy-to- 
use interface and passes all site requests 
through a back-end filtering server, keeping users away 
from inappropriate content. In essence, the two parts 
of this solution— the browser client and the server— 
gave rise to the current Surf Monkey Web portal. Surf- 
Monkey.com offers its own content, a new, download- 
able version of the original browser. 

Surf Monkey developed the browser and back-end 
server using Microsoft Visual C++. The core of the site 
was then built using Microsoft Internet Information 
Server, Active Server Pages, Visual InterDev, Visual 
Basic, and Java scripting languages. Besides IIS, the site 
also uses Microsoft SQL server and Microsoft Site 
Server, which includes Exchange Chat Service, Person- 
alization and Membership Server, 
and other tools for monitoring. 

For page authoring, the company 
uses Microsoft Windows Notepad 
and Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. 

Typically, a group of designers will 
create a few pages in Dream- 
weaver and give them to a group 
of programmers, who then inte- 
grate these pages with the site’s 
back end. Originally, Microsoft 
FrontPage was used for the initial 
design, but the HTML it produced 
wasn’t as flexible as Dream- 
weaver’s code. “FrontPage is more 
for designers,” says Scott Jarol, 
director of advanced technology 
at Surf Monkey. "You end up with 
HTML that’s very difficult to read 
and then deconstruct if you want 
to insert scripted elements.” Surf Monkey’s program- 
mers like to use straight text editors on the 
Dreamweaver HTML. 

Jarol and his programmers initially built the site for a 
wide audience, making sure it supported Internet 
Explorer 3 and Netscape Navigator 3. But since discov- 
ering that many visitors use a Version 4 or later brows- 
er, they have begun adding extensive animation and 
sound effects. They code the Surf Monkey avatar with 
Microsoft Agent, and its chat client is a Shockwave 
application. 

Roughly 15 Pentium Ill-based Windows NT servers 
located at Exodus, a hosting service, host the site. Surf 
Monkey provides all the hardware; Exodus provides 
rack space and bandwidth. Soon, Surf Monkey will add 
a second point of presence (POP) on the East Coast and 
several other POPs as well— CM 


A MONKEY 
ON YOUR 
SCREEN 

SurfMonkey 
.corn’s name- 
sake, built 
using 
Microsoft 
Agent, runs 
around the 
screen help- 
ing kids navi- 
gate the Web. 


HotOffice 

www.hotoffice.com 



Want to set up a virtual office 
without walls? Try this Editors’ 
Choice winner (10/24/99). At 
$12.95 P er user P er month, it’s 
the least expensive of the ser- 
vices we’ve 
tested. It in- 
cludes a docu- 
ment library 
for storing 
your shared 
files, discus- 
sions for exchanging ideas, 
and a shared calendar for 
tracking meetings and tasks. 


MindSpring Biz 

business.mindspring.net 

As a leading ISP, MindSpring 
is in a good position to pro- 
vide Web-hosting services as 
well. At MindSpring Biz, any- 
one can take a shot at setting 
up an online store by going 


through the process of site 
creation, site publishing, traf- 
fic building, and performance 
evaluation with tools that are 
relatively easy to use. Consul- 
tants are also available. The 
cheapest e-commerce plan, 
$79.90 a month (plus a $50 
setup fee), offers limited back- 
office features and space for 
selling up to 50 products. 


SmartAge 

www.smartage.com 


SmartAge is sort of an a la carte 
e-business builder, letting you 
use as few or as many of its sev- 
eral services as you 
need. It’s built around 
an ad banner ex- 
change system 
(SmartClicks). But 
many other tools for 
building, promoting, 
and analyzing your 
site are available, too. 



TRAVEL 


Biztravel.com 

www.biztravel.com 

Business travel- 
ers come to this 
site to find an 
automated up- 
grade system to help them fly 
first-class more often, flight- 
status updates that can be sent 
to pagers, exclusive travel 
deals, and frequent-flier mile- 
age tracking. The site has also 
recently announced live on- 
line customer service via in- 
stant messaging. 

Expedia.com 

Expedia.com 

The newest features at this 
huge site include a Family 
Travel section, a Fare Com- 
pare feature that tells you 
what other 
people are 
currently 
paying for 
the flights 
you want, seat pinpointers to 
help you get the perfect seat, a 
place to save your previous 


search queries, vacation and 
cruise wizards, and express 
service for frequent users. You 
can turn to its 250-person cus- 
tomer-support staff if you 
have a question. 

Lonely Planet 
Online 

www.lonelyplanet.com 

How refreshing: a travel site 
that actually gives you insider 
insight into your destinations. 
The Fonely Planet series of 
guidebooks has an outstanding 
reputation, and much of that 
content is here, in searchable 
form. Don’t miss the world- 
wide travel news updates, and 
feel free to post your travel 
questions on The Thorn Tree. 

Travelocity.com 

www.travelocity.com 

This big site has always had a 
slight technological advantage 
over its competitors: It’s 
owned by the Sabre Group, 
which maintains the largest 
worldwide reservation system. 




158 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8. 2000 




That underpinning makes it 
easy for the site to offer fea- 
tures such as one-click access 
to the best current fares from 
your hometown 
to major cities and 
automatic search- 
es for the three 
lowest-priced itin- 
eraries for your travel needs. In 
October 1999, the site merged 
with Preview Travel, making it 
the largest travel site around. 


WebFIyer 

www.webflyer.com 

Frequent fliers love their 
miles, and they love to keep 
track of them. Though 
this site isn’t particu- 
larly interactive (you 
will find discussion 
boards), it’s an out- 
standing, up-to-date reposito- 
ry of everything you need to 
know about every frequent- 
flier program. 



E VELOPMENT 


WEB 


DevEdge Online 

http://developer.netscape.com 

Netscape’s site for developers 
offers a comprehensive data- 
base of documentation that 
explains how to program 
everything from basic HTML 
to Java and XML, with sample 
pages to guide you. There’s 


also a helpful area where you 
can troubleshoot with other 
members and check the latest 
bug reports. 

Slashdot 

http://slashdot.org 

As the open-source move- 
ment grows, Slashdot’s influ- 
ence grows as well; it’s 
the major meeting place 


DevEdge Online 

Your Resource for Building Web Applications 


for techies in love with Linux 
(and with real antipathy to- 
ward Microsoft). Members 
post interesting articles from 
around the Web, and other 
members comment in endless 
and feisty discussions that can 
be wildly entertaining to read. 

Webmonkey 

www.webmonkey.com 

This HotWired site for Web 
developers doesn’t seem to be 
churning out articles at the 
rate it once was, but it’s still a 
great resource for all aspects 
of Web site de- 
velopment, 
from coding 
and design to 
promotion and 
marketing. 

Web Site Garage 

http://websitegarage 

.netscape.com 

Drive your site in-to the Web 






Site Garage (a * 

Netscape-owned 
site) and see what 
the mechanic has to 
say about the way you’ve built 
it. You’ll get instant perfor- 
mance diagnostics, suggestions 
for tuning up your images for 
faster loading, and tools for 
counting your traffic and pro- 
moting your site. 


World Wide Web 
Consortium (W3C) 

www.w3.org 

The W3C was found- * > mm ^ 
ed in 1994 to “lead \M 
the World Wide Web T T W 
to its full potential by devel- 
oping common protocols that 
promote its evolution and en- 
sure its interoperability” — a 
lofty ambition, to say the least. 

At the site, you’ll Find the tech- 
nical reports and specifica- 
tions that outline the agreed- 
on standards for the Web. = 


A Great 


REPRINTS 

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Get the most value from your PC Magazine 
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SOFTWARE 


WHAT ARE THEY 


THINKING? 

Surveying your customers online is a great way to gauge their 
satisfaction with your business. Web survey products help you 
ask the right questions— and understand the answers. 

a n important tenet of good business is “know your customer.” One of the best ways 
to get to know your customers or clients is to ask them questions through a survey. 

Until recently, surveys — telephone, mail, or in-person — were expensive and there- 
fore the domain of big organizations. Then along came the Internet (of course) to 
change the survey industry. Web surveys have 
several big advantages. They have negligible 
distribution costs: Unlike mail surveys, for 
example, which require printing and postage, 

Web survey results travel for free across the 
wire. Web survey results are typically tabulated 
automatically as soon as the respondents com- 
plete a survey. Not only does this avoid the high 

165 EZSurvey 99 for the Internet 
166 MarketSight 2.5 
173 Survey Select 2.1 
174 SurveySolutions for the Web 2.0 
175 WebSurveyor 2.0 
176 Zoomerang 
173 Make Your Numbers Count 



BY NELSON KING 

ILLUSTRATIONS BY POLLY BECKER 

FEBRUARY 8. 2000 PC MAGAZINE 163 




- f \ FJ 
: / * 
q -' >Lu 
) ' ,J3o 1 


Survey software can build a questionnaire, 
put it on the Web, and slice the data for you. 


cost of manually keying in responses associated with most other 
types of surveys, it also lets you check your survey’s progress, 
including interim results, at any time. 

All this means that even small and medium-size businesses 
can now use surveys to gather incredibly useful information, be 
it from their customers or potential customers or employees. 
We tested six survey development products that work on the 
Web: Raosoft’s EZSurvey 99 for the Internet, Decision Archi- 
tects’ MarketSight 2.5, Saja Software’s Survey Select 2.1, Perseus 
Development’s SurveySolutions for the Web 2.0, WebSurveyor 
Corp.’s WebSurveyor 2.0, and Market Tools’ Zoomerang. All of 
these programs help you build a Web survey questionnaire, pub- 
lish it to the Web, collect the data, and then analyze and report 
the results. Some of them make it surprisingly easy; and prices 
range from free to $1,090. 



'*2KV 


The Web survey products 
we tested should not be con- 
fused with the free polling 
services that let you embed 
little questions on your Web 
site such as “Who was your 
favorite Beatle?” These ser- 
vices may keep people com- 
ing back to your site, but 
they’re entirely unscientific 
and should not be used for 
real research. 

In order for Web surveys 
to work for you, your target 
audience must be online. 
Web surveys can be deployed 
in a few different ways: You 
can send an e-mail with the 


link to the survey Web site. 

Alternatively, visitors can be 
asked if they want to take a 
survey when they visit your 
Web site. Typically, you’ll 
want to approach visitors 

randomly to ensure the results are unbiased and projectable. 

A central issue for these Web-based surveys is how the sur- 
vey is published to the Web and how data is collected from the 
Web site and transported to you for analysis. Services such as 
Zoomerang and WebSurveyor do the data collection on their 
own servers; we found this to be the easiest approach. Other 
programs like EZSurvey and Survey Select require that special 
scripts (CGI or Perl programs) be placed on the Web server. Be- 
cause this involves relatively complex interactions between 

MORE ON THE WEB: For more information about Web survey solu- 
tions, visit the sites listed in our Site Finder section. You’ll find links to 
products and advice on creating useful surveys, www.pcmag.com 


Which Method Is Right for You? 

Online research may not be the right choice every time. This chart 
compares the best uses for online, mail, and telephone surveys. 


databases, Web servers, CGI programs, and often e-mail, there 
is plenty of room for problems. This can lead to difficulties, es- 
pecially if an ISP is involved; not all of the programs solved the 
problems equally well. 

All of the programs we tested automatically translate ques- 
tions and responses into Web-page forms that you display at a 
Web site. There are many kinds of survey questions: “What is 
your age?” “Pick your favorite color.” Survey software attempts 
to provide you with matching question types— for example, a 
list of responses with check boxes to select all that apply. 

In general, the more question types the better — especially on 
the Web, where keeping the survey compact and varied can be a 
factor in how many people will complete it. All the programs we 
reviewed have single (check one) and multiple (check all that 

apply) question types, but 




ONLINE 

MAIL 

TELEPHONE 

Best use 

When you already 
have e-mail 
addresses, don’t 
need to control for 
subgroup quotas, 
and need to show 
visuals or demos 

When you have a 
very large database 
without e-mail, don’t 
need to control for 
subgroup quotas, and 
have high involve- 
ment of the audience 

When you have 
respondents without 
e-mail, need to con- 
trol for subgroup 
quotas, and need in- 
depth information 

Cost 

Least expensive 

More expensive 

Most expensive 

Speed 

Fastest 

Slowest 

Slow 

Example 

Employee reactions 
to a redesigned 
training manual 

Profiles of a profes- 
sional association’s 
members 

Reactions to product 
concepts among 
heavy and light 
users in five markets 


there are wide differences in 
what other types are provid- 
ed. In the reviews we note 
programs like EZSurvey that 
can accommodate unusual 
question types, or the ability 
to validate the entries of peo- 
ple taking the survey. 

Because basing a new sur- 
vey on an existing survey can 
be a big time-saver, we give 
extra credit to products 
where the reuse of surveys is 
well organized in a template 
system. For the most part, 
there are no limits — other 
than common sense — on the 
number of questions in a sur- 


sponse items per question. 
Most of the programs have a 
question library, which is an- 
other time-saver. None of the 
products has a WYSIWYG pre- 
sentation of the survey form 
as you develop the survey; you must jump to a preview mode in 
a Web browser. 

Although all the products have built-in charting, we noticed 
that many are relatively thin in advanced analytical and report- 
ing features. Since most of our products are entry-level, many 
of the companies have a family of products to provide upgrade 
options, including additional reporting and analysis. 

For this roundup we focused on Web survey capabilities, 
though we’ve noted which products can also be used to conduct 
surveys by other means, including e-mail, by telephone, and in 
person. Web surveys don’t replace the traditional techniques, 
but they are rapidly becoming an important tool — one that can 
be used to great effect by companies big and small. 


164 


PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


SOFTWARE 


■ III! 

i U rs SurveySolutions for 
the Web 2.0 


Our Editors’ Choice, Perseus’s SurveySolutions for the 
Web 2.0, strikes the best balance between powerful 
features and easy-to-use tools. 

We particularly liked SurveySolutions’ familiar interface, 
which closely resembled a standard Microsoft Office docu- 
ment. The program features a wizard that walks you through 
creating your survey and allows you to choose any of the 230 
questions included in the program’s question library. 

Once you get the results from your survey, editing and 
adding the data is accomplished using a familiar spread- 
sheetlike format. There are also reporting and analysis wiz- 
ards that make SurveySolutions’ tools— some of the most 
powerful we saw — easy to use. 



For raw power, we couldn’t ignore the tools we found in 
Raosoft’s EZSurvey 99 for the Internet, which is why it de- 
serves an honorable mention. In addition to its powerful 
analysis tools, EZSurvey offers the most advanced capaci- 
ties for validating the types of answers you receive from 
your survey respondents. You 
can make questions mandato- 
ry, control the length of write- 
in responses, and set ranges 
for numeric answers. With a 
more modern and easy-to-use 
interface, EZSurvey would be 
hard to beat. 

WebSurveyor 2.0 gets an 
honorable mention for its ease 
of use. Though it lacks some of 
the more advanced features, such as data validation and 
branching, it is a great choice if you need to get a survey out 
fast, without a lot of setup time and without sacrificing too 
much power. 



EZSurvey 99 for the Internet 

Price: $399 direct. Raosoft Inc., Seattle, WA; 206- 
525-4025; www.raosoft.com. • • • • 

EZSurvey 99 for the Internet ($399 direct) 
has the guts, if not the prettiest interface, 
for developing and managing Web sur- 
veys. Its wide variety of question types, 
branching ability, and data validation 
more than compensate for its slightly 
spartan analysis and reporting. It’s easy 
enough for the advanced beginner and 
also offers an unusual number of power- 
ful features. 

Surveys are constructed as a sequence 
of questions and responses in a treelike 
hierarchy (it looks something like Mi- 
crosoft Windows Explorer). Moving 
questions around is a snap, and at a key- 
stroke you can preview the survey in a 
browser. Formatting the survey isn’t a 
strong point; you can change only fonts 
and colors. There are no automatic 
multiple-column formats like the matrix 
(crosstab) question found in Survey- 
Solutions, WebSurveyor, and Zoomerang. 


Our contributors: Sheryl Canter is a contributing 
editor and Nelson King is a frequent contributor to 
PC Magazine. Kathy Speas is vice president of 
Research & Development at Audits & Surveys 
Worldwide, which provides online and traditional 
research from its San Francisco office. Associate 
editor Nancy E. Hirsch and PC Magazine Labs senior 
project leader Jay Munro were in charge of this story. 


With this one exception, EZSurvey pro- 
vides an outstanding selection of ques- 
tion types. 

Following the old rule of GIGO 
(garbage in, garbage out), validating sur- 
vey information is important. EZSurvey 
distinguishes itself from all the other 
products in this roundup by the extent 
of its ability to control and validate sur- 
vey entries. Questions can be made 
mandatory; you can control the length 
of write-in answers and set field masks 
to ensure properly formatted responses. 
Numeric entries can be set to allowed 
ranges, and responses may have a de- 
fault value. 

Among its most useful control features 


is support for several kinds of branching 
(the ability to jump from one question to 
another). If the user completes one ques- 
tion with a certain answer, the survey can 
jump to another question or page, skip- 
ping over any irrelevant questions. If the 
user gives a response like “other,” a fol- 
low-up branch brings up a dialog box in 
which to elaborate. Branching can be ap- 
plied to both single- and multiple-answer 
questions. 

Any survey can be used to produce an 
e-mail survey, and EZSurvey does an es- 
pecially good job of making bulk mailing 
and e-mail data collection easy. When it 
comes to deploying your survey to the 
Web, EZSurvey includes a facility for 
managing multiple sites (the 
only program in this roundup 
to do so) and provides pass- 
word security. Publishing the 
survey to a site is fully auto- 
mated, although you must first 
configure a Web server (yours 
or an ISP’s). Whereas most of 
EZSurvey is simple enough for 
beginning users, server config- 
uration may require handing 
the task to a Webmaster or 
technical support person. 

On the back end of the sur- 
vey, data collection is handled 
by automatic download from 
the server into a DBF file. Ac- 
cess to the database is through 



FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 165 




SOFTWARE 


the utilitarian EZSurvey spread- 
sheet, where you can add or edit 
information. Analysis and re- 
porting are not EZSurvey’s 
strongest points, though they 
are useful. As with many survey 
companies, Raosoft offers a fam- 
ily of products, including EZRe- 
port ($299) and Survey-Tools 
($149), which can be used to bol- 
ster the product’s reporting and 
data management capabilities. 

EZSurvey doesn’t have the 
slickest user interface or data 
analysis in this roundup, but in other areas 
that count — a good selection of question 
types, data validation, e-mail manage- 
ment, and data handling — it’s very strong 
and deserves to be a top choice. — NK 


Ete £<* y*v, im«t H«fc> 



I 


(BRANDS] 

2. Which of th« following btands hav* youh»«d of? 
|] Prie«W«t»ihouMCoopM* 

(I Emit Young 
|] IBM 

I) USW«b/CK3 
jj Ailhui Anderton 
II EDS 

I) AndmonConculting 
|] McKinsxy 
jj M one of lh»*« 

|| No Reply 


(ANDERSON] 

4. Which of th* following b« A dtccribec how kktij you ttt lo u#e Andersen Confuting? 

( | I f* the consiiiing f»m Fd prefer to use 

jj If » one of 2 or 3 consulting firms I'll uce 

jj Iff oneofeeverel coneuUmgfirmf I’d coneider unng 

jj I mayor may not coneider unng it 

jj 1 definitely would not confider it 

U HoRepty 


MarketSight 2.5 


Price: $495 direct. Decision Architects (an affiliate 
of Monitor Company Inc.), Cambridge, MA; 800- 
788-8840; www.decisionarc.com. • • • 

Web surveys are a new feature in Deci- 
sion Architects’ MarketSight 2.5 ($495 di- 
rect), which is a good general-purpose 
survey program that includes support for 


MARKETSIGHT USES question blocks to develop a survey and 
provides a library of questions to speed up the process. 


telephone and in-person surveys. Market- 
Sight’s strength is in data manipulation 
and analysis, but it lacks the Web design 
features and some important survey 
functions that are available with other 
products in this roundup. 

MarketSight creates a survey as a series 
of question blocks that can be edited but 
provide limited flexibility for the survey 
layout as a whole. Within a question block, 
responses (answers), which MarketSight 
calls variables, are linked to data variables 
(which most programs call data fields). 
The use of variables throughout the survey 


process, and especially for calcu- 
lations, gives MarketSight one of 
the most powerful analytical ap- 
proaches in this roundup, al- 
though at the cost of a more dif- 
ficult learning curve. 

There is a well-organized 
question library (to which you 
can add your own questions). 
You can also select a question 
type and create the question 
from scratch. MarketSight does 
not support some common ques- 
tion types, such as drop-down 
lists and combo boxes, although it does 
have a Constant Sum question in which re- 
sponses must be amounts that add up to a 
specific total (usually percentages). Unlike 
EZSurvey, MarketSight doesn’t support re- 
quired fields or question branching. It 
does, however, perform data validation. 

Setting up a survey on the Web is ex- 
traordinarily obtuse. MarketSight requires 
the installation of Perl 4 or later, which in 
our experience probably should be done 
by a Webmaster or ISP technician. Using 
this script, MarketSight collects survey 
data in an ASCII text file at the server. In 


SCORECARD 

For installation and setup, we evaluate how 
easily each product can be installed and inte- 
grated into your system. For help, tutorials, and 
tips, we check for documentation such as 
online help, a tutorial, and a guide on how to 
make surveys. We base the forms score on form building 
and the ability to add, edit, and manage template libraries. 
Survey building involves the options for building single- 
and multiple-page forms and branching to other ques- 
tions within or between pages. Data collection refers to 
the product’s ability to scan e-mail or data files for 
results. File management includes the ability to import 
and export data, as well as the software’s data cleaning 


and recoding features. For deployment, we look at the 
ability to post surveys on the Web, and the ease and 
power of server-side support. The analysis score reflects 
the options and ease of use of the data analysis tools, and 
the types of analysis available. Reporting refers to charting 
and presentation options. Ease of use encompasses the 
workings of the product and its user interface. For the 
overall score, we consider all of these factors to determine 
each product’s suitability for Web-based surveys. 

YOUR CUSTOM SCORECARD: To find the survey software that best 
meets your particular needs, create your own custom scorecard online 
( www.pcmag.com ). Just tell us what matters most to you and get an 
instant ranking of the packages according to your priorities. 



RED denotes Editors’ Choice. 


••••-VERY GOOD 
• ••-GOOD 
••-FAIR 
• -POOR 

J 

/ . 

* 

¥ 


</ 

/ 

e 5 

/ 

5* 

¥ 

# 



OVERALL 

EZSurvey 99 for the Internet 



• •• 





• ••• 


• •• 

• •• 

• ••• 

MarketSight 


• •••• 

• •• 

• •• 

• • 

• •• 

• • 

• •••• 

• ••• 

• •• 

• •• 

Survey Select 


• ••• 

• •• 

• •• 

• ••• 

• ••• 

• •• 


• • 

• • 

• •• 

SurveySolutions for the Web 


• ••• 

• ••• 

• ••• 


• ••• 

• ••• 

• •• 

• •• 

• ••• 

• ••• 

WebSurveyor 


• ••• 

• •• 

• •• 

• ••• 

• • 

• ••• 

• •• 



• ••• 

Zoomerang 


• ••• 

• ••• 

• • 

• •• 

• 

• •• 

• 

• • 


• • 


166 


PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


TODAY 

SOMEONE’S 

©WORK 



SOLVING 

YOUR PROBLEMS 



Gateway” E-Series Managed Desktops 

Manageable, serviceable, network-ready desktops, 


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36 mos. business lease 2 


www.gatewayatwork.com 1-800-370-2457 



Gateway@Work 


NETWORKING 
THE ENTERPRISE 



Gateway" ALR® Series Servers 

Scalable power connecting you to the world, 


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36 mos. business lease 2 


LIMITED WARRANTY UPGRADES: 

Upgrade to 4-hour on-site response service — our highly skilled technical support team and field engineers will respond to your call for help, 

identify the server problem and provide continuous support until the problem is solved. 6 

ALR® 7000 Series server, one-year, 4-hour response service, 24-hour x 7-day coverage , . . $465 5 

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ALR 9000 Series servers, one-year, 4-hour response service, 9-hour x 5-day coverage , . . $625 5 


5. Call 1-800-GATEWAY or write to Gateway Terms & Conditions, P.O. Box 1951, North Sioux City, SD 57049-1951 for a free copy of our limited warranties and third party on-site service agreements. On-site customers: If a 

Gateway authorized representative determines on-site service is necessary, it will be provided for product in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Canada (excluding mice, keyboards, portable docking 
stations, external peripherals and monitors). You may be asked to take your PC to a Gateway location for warranty service. The Extended Care Limited Warranty does not cover external mice, keyboards, printers, nocking stations, 
AC adapters, rack mount servers, monitors, LCD displays for portables, scanners, batteries, external peripherals, and-on components or components purchased after point of sale. See agreements for specific terms and limitations. 


GETTING YOU OUT 
OF THE OFFICE 



Gateway™ Solo® Portables 

Everything you need to be productive on the road. 


Solo® 2500SE Value Notebook 

• 12.1" TFT Color Display 

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36 mos. business lease 2 


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Solo® 2500 and 5150 one-year on-site service upgrade $79 

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Intel and Pentium are registered trademarks, and Celeron and Pentium III Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation. 1. Call 1 -800-GATEWAY or Write to Gateway Terms & Conditions, P.O. Box 1951, North SioUX City, SD 57049-1951 for a free copy of OUT 
limited warranties and on-site service agreements. On-site customers: If Gateway determines on-site service is necessary, it will be provided for product in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and 
Canada (excluding mice, keyboards, portable docking stations, external peripherals and monitors). You may be asked to take your Pi to a Gateway location for warranty service. See agreements for specific terms and 


Gateway @Work 


SAVING 

YOU HEADACHES 




Gateway Desktop PCs 

PCs that are ready to run right out of the box. 


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limitations. 2. Leasing provided by independent leasing companies to qualified commercial customers. Lease payments based on a 36-month term. Lease terms subject to change without notice or obligation. 

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SOFTWARE 


MAKE YOUR NUMBERS COUNT 


A topflight set of power tools does not 
make someone a master craftsman. 

These survey tools can put you 
in control of powerful informa- 
tion quickly and efficiently. Or 
they can enable you to make 
mistakes and waste resources 
faster than ever. Survey tools 
can be part of a valuable deci- 
sion support strategy, provided 
you use them wisely. 

Online survey tools cover the 
how of conducting research, but 
you must add the why to com- 
plete the picture. All too often, 
survey research provides inter- 
esting numbers and elegant 
graphs but fails to be actionable. 
An awful lot of market research is collecting dust on shelves 
in corporate America. To avoid having your online survey 
become just a set of bookends, here are some things to 
consider as you launch your surveys. 



First 


ask yourself what you’re going to do with the 
y information. What decisions will be made 
based on this study? What actions could be taken or avoid- 
ed? What do you want to know at the end of the survey that 
you don’t know now? Does the study address something 
that can actually be affected, or is it just “nice to know”? 
Remember to develop your research with an action plan in 
mind and remain focused on the goal as you move forward. 

k j i decide who should be included in the survey. 
INlfciA L y Depending on your action plan, you may want 
to include customers (or product users), noncustomers (or 
nonusers), former customers or users, distributors, ana- 
lysts, decision makers, prospective client, or other audi- 
ences. The rule of thumb is that you need a sample size of 
about 100 in any group of particular interest Be sure to 
structure a sample that is not inherently biased toward a 


particular viewpoint. For example, your top 100 customers 
may be easy to reach, but they would not be the best sam- 
ple to tell you what might encourage competitors’ cus- 
tomers to switch. 

Of course, having an adequate response rate is also impor- 
tant. High-level executives, IT decision makers, and high- 
income households are heavily surveyed and reluctant to 
respond. Do not assume that if you attempt to contact For- 
tune 100 CFOs that you will obtain 100 interviews. If your 
survey is going to a known audience (your company’s em- 
ployees, association members, or respondents who have 
been prerecruited), your response rate may be 40 to 50 
percent or higher. Banner ads on Web sites typically gener- 
ate 1 to 5 percent response rates. Blind e-mails, which are 
generally frowned on as spam, will generate a 5 to 10 per- 
cent response rate, at the most. 

jr once you’ve decided on your objectives and 

I IlfcJlSf your audience, it’s time to create your ques- 
tionnaire. You may want to consult a researcher about differ- 
ent ways to ask questions. There are many good ways to ask, 
“How much should this product cost?”— but that wording is 
not one of them. Show your survey to a few people to test it 
out before you launch it. Pretests are an invaluable way to 
identify potential misunderstandings that could mar your 
results. 


Now what? 


You’ve collected data; now 
what? The survey tools we’ve 
reviewed will give you the numbers but won't tell you how to 
use them. A goal-directed analysis plan will keep you from 
obscuring meaningful results in a blizzard of numbers. Ask a 
researcher to help you evaluate your results in view of the 
sample you finally obtained and your original goals. Is 80 
percent satisfaction “good”? There’s no inherently right 
answer; your ability to interpret the information you’ve col- 
lected is what makes your numbers count. 

For thorough answers to all the related questions you were 
afraid to ask, consult the easily readable white paper “Survey 
101— A Complete Guide to a Successful Survey” at www 
.perseus.com/surveytips/Survey_101.htm. —Kathy Speas 


order to create survey databases on their 
desktops, users can create a new data dic- 
tionary File to correspond to each text file. 
For someone familiar with database man- 
agement, this is not a difficult task, but it’s 
a lot to ask of anyone who isn’t. This is es- 
pecially true considering the ease with 
which products such as SurveySolutions 
accomplish the same task. 

Once the survey data is available, it can 
be edited in the Data Window. Analysis is 
performed in data tables, a spreadsheet 


workalike that uses the MarketSight vari- 
ables to perform a wide range of calcula- 
tions and statistical functions. In the 
hands of experienced users, this is a pow- 
erful way to analyze the information that 
has been collected. MarketSight also pro- 
vides wizards to help the novice with 
common analyses. The same data tables 
are used to generate charts within a full- 
featured graphics module. MarketSight 
does not create analytical reports per se 
but does let you easily print individual 


charts, tables, and surveys. 

Although its analytical and charting ca- 
pabilities are excellent, MarketSight lacks 
too many of the features provided by 
other (often less expensive) products in 
this roundup to make it a good choice for 
Web surveys . — NK 

Survey Select 2.1 

Price: $1,090 direct. Saja Software Inc., 

Longmont, CO; 800-945-0040, 303-449-2969; 
www.surveyselect.com. • • • 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 173 




SOFTWARE 


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YOU CONTROL Survey Select by means of the buttons 
stacked vertically in the lower-left-hand corner. The 
available controls shift depending on the current task. 


Like MarketSight, Survey Select ($1,090 
direct with e-mail/Web module) was not 
originally a Web survey product. It was 
designed to create disk-, e-mail-, and 
paper-based surveys; the e-mail/Web 
module is an add-on. And just as with 
MarketSight, Web-based surveys can be 
difficult to deploy— especially if you’re 
running a Windows NT-based Web serv- 
er. Moreover, although Survey Select is 
the most expensive product in our 
roundup, it is by no means the most pow- 
erful. Raosoft’s EZSurvey 99 for the In- 
ternet, at almost half the price, can cre- 
ate much more sophisticated surveys. 
(Saja Software has recently released a 
high-end product called Survey Select 
Expert 3.0 that offers more features, but 
its $1,495 price tag exceeded the limit for 
this story.) 

Survey Select is not the easiest product 
to use. Its nonstandard interface requires 
you to snake through screen after screen 
to get to the feature you need, 
and the analysis portion of the 
package is particularly cum- 
bersome. The controls are a set 
of unusual-looking buttons 
stacked vertically in the main 
window. You click on these 
buttons to move from screen to 
screen, and on each screen the 
controls change. To get to the 
Web portion of the product, 
you must click your way 
through three screens. To re- 
turn to the design portion, you 
must back out by repeatedly 
clicking on Previous Screen. 

The analysis portion is espe- 
cially awkward to use because 
you must keep moving back 


and forth between screens. 
You don’t get much power in 
exchange for your pain, ei- 
ther. The question types are 
limited, and they are hard to 
pick out because prelabeled 
scales are mixed in with 
other question types. (It 
would be better to place the 
prelabeled scales on a sub- 
menu.) The product has data 
validation but no branching, 
and you can’t mark fields as 
required. All of these are fea- 
tures found in EZSurvey. 

On the plus side, Survey 
Select comes with a library of 
over 800 questions in 30 categories, and 
you can add to them as well. Each ques- 
tion on a survey is categorized by topic, a 
feature that is useful in the analysis stage. 
You can analyze the questions in each 
topic separately, and you can use the De- 
mographic topic to create subgroups for 
analysis. 

Survey Select’s documentation is ex- 
tensive and includes a tutorial-style series 
of tips, online help, and printed docu- 
mentation. The tutorial is particularly 
helpful in prodding you through the non- 
standard interface. Some important top- 
ics are not covered, however, notably the 
special steps you must take to deploy a 
Web-based survey on a Microsoft Win- 
dows NT server and the special setting 
needed when using MAPI e-mail to im- 
port responses. 

If your main focus is Web-based sur- 
veys, Survey Select is not the best choice. 
It’s expensive, the interface is cumber- 


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3 


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r u % O □ ▼ s? 


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Webtime 

In a typical week, how much time do you spend accessing the World Wide 
Web? 

O Under 1 hour 
O 1 to 2 hours 
O 3 to 4 hours 
O 5 to 9 hours 
O 10 to 19 hours 

12. Rank 


O 20 to 29 hours 
O 30 to 40 hours 
O Over 40 hours 
O Not sure 


How would you rate your knowledge of the Web? 


▼ Excellent ▼ Good T Fair 

▼ Limited 


13 Sex} 

What is your sex? 

O Mate 
O Female 

14 Birthdate 

What is your date of birth? 
Month 

— — - 



MAGAZINE 

EDITORS’ 

CHOICE 


SURVEYSOLUTIONS uses a word processing environment to 
design surveys and display reports. 


some, options are limited, and the Web 
piece is an add-on with gaps in its docu- 
mentation . — Sheryl Canter 

SurveySolutions for the Web 2.0 

Price: $179 list. Perseus Development Corp., 
Braintree, MA; 877-737-7387, 781-848-8100; 
www.perseus.com. • • • • 

If you’re looking for a good 
Web-based survey system, 
our Editors’ Choice, 
Perseus’s SurveySolutions 
for the Web 2.0 ($179), has an 
exceptionally fine balance 
between ease of use and 
more advanced features, in part the result 
of a well-designed user interface. It does 
not have the most specialized features in 
every area in this roundup, but Survey- 
Solutions covers all the bases with un- 
common ease. And SurveySolutions for 
the Web 3.0 should be available by the 
time you read this. 

Almost the entire survey process is 
handled in a word processing environ- 
ment. The approach carefully follows Mi- 
crosoft Office guidelines for look and 
feel, which should help many users and 
makes SurveySolutions feel more mod- 
ern than programs such as EZSurvey 99 
for the Internet and MarketSight 2.5. 

You develop a survey by using the 
Question Wizard, which guides you 
through all the steps for questions and re- 
sponses, or by using the unusually well- 
stocked question library (containing 
more than 200 questions) and the scales 
library. We especially liked the question 
library’s preview window, which makes it 
easy to see the question layout. Some- 
times you just want to borrow the 
format of a sample question and 
rewrite the details. 

SurveySolutions lacks the vari- 
ety of question types and the ad- 
vanced ability to validate response 
entries found in EZSurvey, but the 
basics are covered. We do give it 
extra points for having a matrix 
(crosstab) question format, which 
is a good way to gather a lot of in- 
formation in a compact form. In 
terms of layout, SurveySolutions is 
one of the best at creating a survey 
that looks as if it was designed for 
the Web. 

As with EZSurvey, the Survey- 
Solutions server is used to trans- 
mit survey results. This transmis- 


1/4 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 






SOFTWARE 



sion relies on a well-de- 
veloped e-mail system, 
which can also be used 
for e-mail surveys. 

Although unusual, we 
liked the idea that Sur- 
veySolutions doesn’t 
build its survey database 
until you get your first re- 
sults back. The program 
compares the values from 
the results to the form 
you created and automat- 
ically generates the data- 
base table. For beginners, 
this couldn’t be easier. 

Editing and adding data 
are done in a data sheet 
(another spreadsheetlike 
arrangement). 

Analysis and reporting of survey infor- 
mation is likewise highly automated; the 
AutoPresent and AutoReport wizards 
take most of the work out of data prepa- 
ration. The simplification does mean that 
SurveySolutions doesn’t have the numer- 
ic analytical flexibility of products such 
as MarketSight. On the other hand, the 
program’s charting capability goes far be- 
yond precanned charts and provides 
more options than most people will ever 
use. For reporting, the word processing 
environment works like a charm. Survey 
reports take the form of a word process- 
ing document that you can edit and for- 
mat using familiar tools. 

Though it doesn’t have all the survey 
elements and data validation of EZSurvey, 
SurveySolutions doesn’t have any major 
weaknesses either. It has a modern user 
interface, good Web features, excellent 
graphics, and better-than- average report- 
ing. In short, this is a terrific value, the 
best in the roundup . — NK 

WebSurveyor 2.0 

Price: For one active survey, $199 direct. Web- 
Surveyor Corp., Ashburn, VA; 703-729-5621; 
www.websurveyor.com. • • • • 

WebSurveyor combines free desktop 
software for survey creation and analysis 
with a moderately priced Internet service 
for deployment and data collection. One 
active survey with 1MB of disk space for 
3 months costs $199. The intuitively de- 
signed desktop software is easy to set up 
and use. The program offers few analysis 
features, but you can export the data to 
analyze in another package. Web- 


Surveyor is a good choice if your survey 
requirements are moderate and you need 
to get up and running quickly. 

The most serious drawbacks in Web- 
Surveyor are its limited question types 
and its lack of data validation. There are 
no automated matrix-style questions, 
like the ones found in SurveySolutions 
for the Web 2.0 and Zoomerang. You 
can’t restrict the type of input, there is 
no data validation, and the package 
doesn’t offer common data types such as 
date, Social Security number, or tele- 
phone number. And you can’t require 
answers to selected questions, as you 
can with EZSurvey 99 for the Internet 
and SurveySolutions. 

But what you can do, you can do easi- 
ly. Response templates let you choose 
from a large number of multiple re- 
sponses. A set of design templates offers 
preconfigured schemes similar to the 
stationery options in Microsoft Outlook 
Express. The designs are in HTML that 
you can edit and save back to the library. 
It’s also easy to add new response 
templates. 

A Skip Group option lets you create a 
branch in your survey, jumping over ir- 
relevant questions. The option has limi- 
tations, but you can edit the HTML code if 
you need more flexibility. You can add 
bitmaps to survey questions with HTML 
code in the question text. 

A built-in e-mail list manager lets you 
create lists for various purposes. You can 
notify list members of the survey by send- 
ing the URL, e-mail a copy of the survey it- 
self as an attachment, or send the survey 
or the URL to a sample of people on the list. 



FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 175 


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SOFTWARE 


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You can allow only one survey re- 
sponse per e-mail address or IP address, 
and you can embed a unique ID in the 
survey to screen for multiple responses 
from a single respondent. You can also re- 
strict responses to certain IP addresses. 

The Analysis page is nicely designed. 
Click on the Update Now button to 
bring the most recent additional re- 
sponses down from the server to your 
local hard disk. You can flip through the 
questions quickly, viewing prebuilt 
charts. A chart toolbox lets you switch 
to different chart types, and filter op- 
tions make it easy to look at subgroups. 
There is little statistical analysis, but you 
can export data in FoxPro or CSV format. 

WebSurveyor’s greatest strength is its 
intuitive design and ease of use. Its weak- 
ness lies in the survey design itself. The 
question styles are limited, and you have 
no control over responses. If the ques- 
tions you need to ask are not overly com- 
plex and you’re prepared to deal with oc- 
casional dirty data, then WebSurveyor is 
a very good choice . — SC 

Zoomerang 

Price: Free. MarketTools Inc., Sausalito, CA; 877-289- 
9555, 415-289-4300; www.zoomerang.com. • • 

Zoomerang is a newly launched online 
service for creating and managing sur- 
veys. Basic functionality, which is all 
that’s available at the time of this writ- 
ing, is free. A premium service, available 
for a monthly fee, will be added in the 
coming months. Planned features for the 



ZOOMERANG is easy to use and includes many 
prebuilt surveys. Unfortunately, options are 
limited to color schemes and a list of basic 


question types. 


176 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 










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Tutorials and Expo: February 9-11, 2000 
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Priority Code: HHMG 


SOFTWARE 


SUMMARY OF FEATURES 


Survey Software 



Survey- 




EZSurvey 



Solutions 

Web- 



99 for the 

Market- 

Survey 

for the 

Surveyor 


■ YES □ NO 

Internet 

Sight 2.5 

Select 2.1 

Web 2.0 

2.0 

Zoomerang 

Price 

$399 direct 

$495 direct 

$1,090 direct* 

$179 list 

$199 direct 

Free 

Hosting charge 

N/A 

N/A 

N/A 

Included 

Included 

Included 

SURVEYS 

Surveys can be distributed on-disk 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

Surveys can be distributed via e-mail 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

Surveys can be password-protected 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

Maximum response choices per question 

Unlimited 

Unlimited 

20 

90 

1,000 

100 

Maximum questions per survey 

Unlimited 

Unlimited 

Unlimited 

Unlimited 

1,024 

20 

Number of survey templates 

4 

7 

8 

5 

2 

Over 100 

Grouped by theme 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

User can add/edit templates in library 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

□ □ 

□ □ 

□ □ 


Number of questions in question library 

70 

87 

800 

230 

48 

N/A 

User can add/edit questions in library 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

N/A 

Number of scales in scale library 

N/A 

21 

30 

20 

66 

N/A 

User can add/edit scales in library 

N/A 

■ ■ 


■ ■ 

■ ■ 

N/A 

Surveys authored 
Answer fields support: 

Locally 

Locally 

Locally 

Locally 

Locally 

Online 

Single-choice drop-down boxes 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

Multiple-choice drop-down boxes 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

Matrix single-select/multiselect 

□ □ 

□ □ 

□ □ 

■ ■ 

□ □ 


Multiline text/numeric-only field 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 


Rank order/Required fields 

■ ■ 



■ ■ 

□ □ 

□ □ 

Tracking fields (visible/hidden) 

■ ■ 


■ ■ 



□ □ 

User-defined formatted fields 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

Survey can branch conditionally 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

Multiple-page forms 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

Questions can be reordered after 
deployment 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

Data piping 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

Respondents can skip questions/pages, 
then return 

■ ■ 


□ □ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

□ □ 

Surveys can be restarted 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

Can block multiple responses per 

■ (e-mail 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

individual 

Modules for server deployment: 

surveys) 






ASP, ISAPI, Perl 



N/A 


N/A 

N/A 

Java, JavaScript, NSAPI 

■ ■■ 

□ □□ 

N/A 


N/A 

N/A 

E-mail list management 

■ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

Context-sensitive help 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

DATA GATHERING 





Automatically scans e-mail 
E-mail clients supported: 

■ 

N/A 

□ 

m 

N/A 

N/A 

Lotus Notes/Outlook 

■ ■ 

N/A 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

N/A 

N/A 

Other 

All types 

N/A 

MAPI, POP, 
SMTP 

All types 

N/A 

N/A 

Can schedule data retrieval by 
start-up/time 

□ □ 

N/A 

□ □ 

□ □ 

N/A 

N/A 

Survey can be stored to a server- 
side/local database 

■ ■ 




■ ■ 


Native database format 

DBF 

Proprietary 

Proprietary 

MS Access 

CSV 

Open 

standards 

Data can be recoded 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

Data exported to SPSS/XLS/CSV file 






□ □□ 

Data imported from XLS/text/database 
file 

■ ■■ 


□ □□ 

■ ■■ 


□ □□ 

ANALYSIS AND REPORTING 

Can calculate min, max, mean 

■ ■■ 

rmn 

rrrwm 

rrrm 

■ ■■ 

□ □□ 

Can calculate frequency distribution 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

Can calculate standard deviation 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

User can edit chart labels, titles, scales 

■ ■■ 

■ ■■ 

■■■ 

■■■ 

■ ■■ 

□ □□ 

Charts can be published on the Web 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

Charts can be updated live 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

Pivot tables (crosstabs) 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

Stem-and-leaf diagrams 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

Tables can be published on the Web 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

□ 


RED denotes Editors’ Choice. * With add-on. N/A-Not applicable: The product does not have this feature. 


premium service include extended data 
storage; the ability to upload images, 
audio, and video; and more complex 
data analysis. 

Zoomerang is the only product in this 
roundup that is entirely Web-based; no 
software is installed locally. It’s easy to 
use but limited. You can create and de- 
ploy a survey in minutes and see the re- 
sults with a single button click, but there 
is a long list of things you cannot do. You 
can’t prevent people from responding 
more than once; you can’t validate data or 
require questions to be answered. You 
also can’t add images or branching logic, 
massage the data or perform any type of 
data analysis other than frequencies, and 
you can’t export the data for analysis in 
another package. 

On the plus side, Zoomerang comes 
with many prebuilt surveys in four cate- 
gories: Business, Community, Person- 
al/Social, and Education. You can edit 
these surveys or create your own from 
scratch. The 11 supported question types 
cover all the basics and include a matrix 
type. The only other product we re- 
viewed with support for matrix questions 
is SurveySolutions. The built-in compo- 
nents are attractive but cannot be modi- 
fied. The only formatting option is to 
change the color scheme. 

Each survey is deployed on the compa- 
ny’s Web site, and an e-mail message with 
the survey’s URL is sent to your target au- 
dience. Once the survey is launched, it 
cannot be changed. The target audience 
can be your own — you can create and 
manage e-mail lists on the site — or you 
can use Zoomerang’s “panel” of volunteer 
respondents. 

The e-mail message that all the re- 
spondents receive includes a long dis- 
claimer from Zoomerang that may set a 
tone you don’t like. After completing the 
survey, respondents see an ad inviting 
them to sign up with Zoomerang as 
panel members or survey creators. Re- 
sponses are accepted until you close the 
survey. Once the Close button has been 
pressed, you can no longer access the 
survey form for reference or for use in 
other surveys. 

At this early stage of its life, Zoom- 
erang is more like a toy than a serious 
survey tool. It’s very easy to use, but its 
limitations make it a poor choice for try- 
ing to conduct a survey of even modest 
complexity . — SC = 


178 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 







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POWER 

PORTABLES 



Pentium III notebooks are here, and they deliver a marked speed 


improvement over their Pentium II-powered predecessors. With the 


12 units we tested, we considered manageability plus product-line 
breadth and stability to identify the best portables for corporate users. 


180 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


BY BILL HOWARD 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOM O’CONNOR 



C all it “fast-enough 
computing”: Notebook 
PCs ar e fast enough for 
the majority of users 
running the vast ma- 
jority of business pro- 
ductivity applications, 
as evidenced by our testing of a dozen 
corporate notebooks. They’re every bit 
as fast as the leading desktops of a year 
ago, meaning someone who switches 
from a two-year-old desktop PC or up- 
grades from a year-old notebook will be 
pleasantly surprised by the speed and 
disk capacity. 

Corporate notebooks, the focus of this 
roundup, differ from other notebooks in 
ways that may seem dreary. But business 
computing is about manageability, up- 
time, and cost of ownership, not about 
whether you can play music CDs with the 
cover closed or DVD movies on the plane 
home. Many corporate notebooks run 
Windows NT— despite difficulties with 
the suspend-and-resume function, with 
plug-and-play, and with hot-swapping of 
removable drives. Corporate notebooks 
have management software. They have to 
have docking stations or port replicators 
available, and ideally these docks will 
work across the manufacturer’s entire 
model line and be unchanged for two or 
even three years. And more and more 
buyers are insisting on modular drives 
and battery packs that are useful across 
model lines. 

For corporate bids, where the rollout 
and delivery might take place over a year 
or more, ideally the notebook hardware 
will remain stable during that time so that 
the same disk image (the operating sys- 
tem plus the applications and drivers) 
can be used on every notebook in the 
fleet. Typically, the buyer is willing to ac- 

IN THIS REVIEW 

183 Compaq Armada E700 
183 Compaq Armada M700 
184 Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 
184 Dell Latitude CS R400XT 
189 Gateway Solo 9300XL 
189 HP OmniBook 4150 
191 IBM ThinkPad 390XMNU 
191 IBM ThinkPad 600X9EU 
196 NEC Versa LXi 
198 Toshiba Portege 7140CT 
198 Toshiba Tecra 8100 
198 WinBook XL3 500 
192 Performance Tests 
190 Summary of Features 


cept later notebook deliveries with faster 
CPUs or bigger hard disks from the same 
immediate family — but not a faster 
graphics adapter if that means a different 
driver and hence a new image. 

REVIEW CRITERIA 

For this roundup, PC Magazine Labs re- 
quired systems configured with Mi- 
crosoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation 
(Service Pack 4) and preinstalled man- 
agement software. We sought out sys- 
tems with the fastest available processor, 
a 10GB or larger hard disk, exactly 128MB 
of system RAM, a 56K modem, and Ether- 
net built-in or on a plug-in PC Card. We 
also recommended docking stations, 
port replicators, and high-capacity 
Iomega Zip or Imation SuperDisk (LS- 
120) removable drives. This filter netted 
us 12 systems from 8 major vendors: 
Compaq, Dell, Gateway, HP, IBM, NEC, 
Toshiba, and WinBook. Acer, Fujitsu, and 
Micron were between product cycles 
and declined our invitation, and Sony 
does not yet offer a managed Windows 
NT corporate solution. 

THE SWITCH TO Pill 

Since our last roundup of portable PCs 
(“Connect Anywhere: Notebook PCs,” 
August 1999), the pinnacle of mobile per- 
formance has shifted from Pentium II to 
Pentium III. The Mobile Pentium II tops 
out at 400 MHz (466 MHz for Mobile 
Celeron); the Mobile Pentium III is avail- 
able at 400, 450, and 500 MHz. Architec- 
turally, a Mobile Pentium III CPU is a 
lower-voltage version of the desktop Pen- 
tium III, which currently goes to 733 MHz; 
it uses the same Coppermine (code name) 
core. The front-side bus runs at 100 MHz 
instead of the Pentium II’s 66 MHz (the 
desktop Coppermine’s is 133 MHz), and 
the 256K of integrated Level 2 advanced 
transfer cache has greater bandwidth than 
the Mobile Pentium II’s 256K on-board L2 
cache. In plain English, the systems re- 
viewed here are more than a third faster 
than the 400-MHz Pentium II notebooks 
running Windows 98 that PC Magazine 
Labs tested last August. You can attribute 
roughly half the increase to the faster 
hardware and half to the operating sys- 
tem: Windows NT performs better on our 
benchmark tests than Windows 98. 

The traditional desktop/notebook per- 
formance gap is about to narrow some- 
what. SpeedStep (code-named Gey- 


I 

QJ 

(/) 



Laptop offerings from the 
major vendors have been 
evolving pretty rapidly in the 
past few months. Here are 
the highlights. 

• Pentium III chips The 
original 0.25-micron Pentium 
III was not a good candidate 
for portable machines; it was 
just too power-hungry, and it 
produced too much heat for 
today’s ever- 
A shrinking 

• laptops. The 
0.18-micron 
chip actually 
runs cooler 

than the Mobile Pentium II chip it 
replaces and runs faster (up to 500 
MHz, versus 400 MHz for the Mobile 
Pentium II). 

• SpeedStep SpeedStep technology 
(code-named Geyserville) will enable 
portable performance to keep pace 
with desktop speed increases. The idea 

is simple: If the laptop 
OS detects AC power, 
the Pentium III chip 
will run at full speed 
(600 MHz and above), 
with cooling provided 
by an additional fan. When the laptop is 
running on battery, the chip will run at 
a slower speed (500 MHz), requiring 
less power and eliminating the need to 
run the extra fan, which will give users 
the battery life they expect. 

• LAN on board An increasing number 
of laptops aimed at corporate buyers 
now incorporate Ethernet. In the past, 
it was up to 
customers (or re- 
sellers) to supply a PC 
Card networking 
solution. But cus- 
tomer demand has 
meant that now some notebooks have 
built-in Ethernet adapters. 

• Swappable CD-RW drives Most 
major laptop makers have added 
another choice for their modular 
bays: CD-RW drives. Until recently, 
CD-RW drives were too bulky to fit in a 

standard half-inch 
laptop bay, but 
makers recently 
unveiled units that 
can be incorporated 
internally. 





FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 181 




NOTEBOOKS 



Toshiba Tecra 8100, 
Toshiba Portege 7140CT 


For this roundup we tested the 
best of the best, so you won’t go 
wrong with any of the 12 note- 
books here. But with our focus on 
corporate customers, two ma- 
chines stand out from the rest. 

The Toshiba Tecra 8100 ($3,900 
street) delivers the most features 
per dollar of any portable in this 
roundup, and it is our Editors’ 

Choice. The 8100 delivers a full 
complement of I/O ports and a 
multipurpose drive bay on-board— all with a 6.1-pound, 1.6-inch chassis. The bay 
can accommodate any one of seven devices, and drives can be shared with 
other models in the Toshiba Tecra family— a help for corporate IT departments 
that need to maintain fleets of machines. Another bonus: The 8100 can use 
docking stations from previous Tecra models, building on your investment. 
Another point in Toshiba's favor is its complete line of mobile offerings, which 
makes it easy for a company to standardize on Toshiba for all its portable needs. 
That said, a second Editors’ Choice goes to the thin and light entry from Toshiba, 
the 4.2-pound Portege 7140CT ($3,500), which is another outstanding value. 

As we noted, all of the tested systems have their strong points, and the mod- 
els from Compaq, Dell, HP, and IBM especially are also worth close consideration. 



serville, and due for release by the time 
you read this) is a mobile Pentium III 
that makes even greater distinctions be- 
tween battery and AC power modes than 
today’s mobile CPUs. When plugged into 
a wall outlet (as most notebooks are 
most of the time), SpeedStep notebooks 
run at full power (6oo MHz and above). 
Such speed necessitates more power and 
produces more heat (requiring an extra 
fan), which would be an unacceptable 
drain on the battery. So when on battery 
power, a SpeedStep notebook runs at 500 
MHz. SpeedStep was initially slated to 
debut in October 1999, but Intel had 
problems getting sufficient yields at 600 
MHz, so it brought out only the non- 
SpeedStep Pentium Ills. AMD has plans 
to produce a similar technology this year, 
giving Intel competition at the peak 
of performance among notebooks as it 


did last year with its Athlon CPUs for 
desktops. 

CHANGING NEEDS, CONFIGS 

The systems in this roundup range from 
about 4 pounds to about 8 pounds system 
weight (with battery, without the AC 
adapter). Two of the models here are one- 
spindle notebooks: They have only a 
built-in hard disk; all other drives (floppy 
disk, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and so on) are 
external. These units are popular with 
road warriors who want to travel light 
and don’t see the need for a DVD, CD, or 
CD-RW drive on the road. Two-spindle 
units (a hard disk plus one other bay for 
another type of drive, an extra battery, or 
another device) are popular with main- 
stream users; the leading example, the 
IBM ThinkPad 600, has been the indus- 
try’s single best-selling notebook since its 



MORE ON THE WEB: Visit the sites listed in Site Finder for tips on portable accessories. 
Don’t omit PC Magazine's own Web site, with its unique interactive price/performance chart 
and Summary of Features table, www.pcmag.com 


introduction in April 1998. Despite their 
heft, three-spindle notebooks (the hard 
disk, plus bays for two additional periph- 
erals) are a popular choice with corpora- 
tions that want all drives built-in, lessen- 
ing the chance that end users will 
misplace the valuable peripherals. 

Our review specifications called 
for DVD-ROM rather than CD-ROM 
drives. We’ve found that many cor- 
porations believe DVD may be im- 
portant over the 18 months. Note- 
books are front-line machines, and 
users get a kick out of being able 
(theoretically) to play DVD movies 
in off hours (actually, DVD MPEG 
drivers in Windows NT don’t al- 
ways work and aren’t always avail- 
able). You might also consider the 
latest option: CD-RW. These re- 
writable drives let users do their 
own remote backups and also use CD-RW 
or CD-R disks for data interchange. Figure 
about $300 extra for DVD versus a CD- 
ROM drive, and about $200 extra for CD- 
RW compared with vanilla CD. 

Virtually all notebooks today run at 
1,024 by 768 pixels (XGA), and standard 
screen size is creeping up from 13.3 inch- 
es (three of the models in this roundup) 
to 14 inches (five models) and even 15 
inches (four models). The exceptions are 
3-pound ultralight notebooks and value- 
oriented personal and small-business sys- 
tems with 12-inch, 8oo-by-6oo displays. 
Also, we’re starting to see the first 15.4- 
inch and even 16-inch displays running at 
i,28o-by-i,024 (SXGA) resolution. 

Other features to consider are: 

• 8MB graphics memory (as found in 8 of 
the 12 machines we tested). If you’re 
sending output to a separate monitor, the 
extra memory lets you display full-color 
presentations at full resolution. 8MB is 
the maximum now; you’ll see 16MB with 
new chips from ATI and S3 soon. 

• Two USB ports (the Gateway and NEC 
machines here). There’s almost zero cost 
and space penalty in having two ports in- 
stead of one, and you can use the ports 
for an ever-increasing number of periph- 
erals, including printers, scanners, and 
external drives. 

• Built-in Ethernet (the Compaq Armada 
E700 and Gateway Solo 9300XL). Fewer 
IS managers today care which Ethernet 
cards they use; having one built into the 
notebook (not the docking station) is a 
convenience, especially for employees 


182 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



who visit remote offices. 

• Built-in modem and RJ-n jack (seven 
models). As with built-in Ethernet, this 
will mean one less dongle (adapter cable) 
to remember not to lose. 

On the other hand, we’ve seen little use 
of infrared (IrDA) among notebook users. 
Dell dropped IrDA off the Latitude CS 
R400XT. Eventually IrDA may be replaced 
by Bluetooth, the short-range RF protocol. 

THE UPGRADE PATH 

If you buy a Windows NT notebook now, 
you’ll be better poised to upgrade to 
Windows 2000 down the road. 


Once you do upgrade to Windows 
2000, you’re likely to find that this new 
operating system gets along better with 
a wider range of peripherals than Win- 
dows NT did. But don’t expect manufac- 
turers to support Windows 2000 on 
notebooks more than a year old (those 
introduced before 1999). 

As we mentioned earlier, for this 
roundup we focused more on the check- 
list items important to corporate IT de- 
partments — common peripherals, stable 
platforms, management software, and 
consistent OS images. Read on to see 
which companies deliver. 


Compaq Armada E700, 

Armada M700 

E700: Pentium 111/500, 24.2GB hard disk, 15-inch TFT 
screen, 8MB ATI Rage Mobility graphics, 4X DVD-ROM 
drive, floppy disk drive. Winstone: 26.7. $5,400 street. 
• • • • M700: Pentium 111/500, 11.5GB hard disk, 
14-inch TFT screen, 8MB ATI Rage Mobility graphics, 
4X DVD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive. Winstone score: 
25.6. $4,300. • • • • Houston; 800-345-1518; 
www.compaq.com. 

Compaq offers five different Armada cor- 
porate notebooks, all designed to be used 
together in a corporate fleet. Each can ac- 
commodate the same set of removable 
drives and secondary batteries. Certain 
models use common docking stations, in- 
cluding the two reviewed here: the Com- 
paq Armada E700, a bulky but powerful 
desktop replacement, and the Compaq 
Armada M700, a light two-spindle sys- 
tem. The two Armadas are well suited for 
large corporate environments, offering 
desktop management software and a 
wide range of hardware. 

In addition to using the same remov- 
able drives and the same secondary bat- 
teries, the E700 and the M700 use the 
same docking stations. At PC Magazine 
Labs, we tested both with the new $700 
ArmadaStation II (which includes drive 
bays, PCI slots, PC Card slots, an Ethernet 
adapter, and additional ports) and the $330 
Convenience Base EM (a port replicator 
with an Ethernet adapter). Compaq also 
offers the $700 ArmadaStation EM (a 
smaller version of the ArmadaStation II) 
and the $250 Port Replicator EM (which 
lacks Ethernet) for the E700 and the 
M700. Compaq lets you manage the entire 
Armada line with its Insight Manager 
software, and soon many of these systems 
will support a common software image. 

With a weight of 8.8 pounds (9.8 
pounds with AC adapter) and a 2.1-inch- 
thick chassis, the E700 is this roundup’s 
bulkiest machine. But what you gain in 
weight, you also gain in features. The 
machine includes a capacious 24GB hard 
disk and an Ethernet adapter, and (pre- 
senters, take note) its audio subsystem is 
better by far than that of any other sys- 
tem reviewed here. The front of the 
E700 includes two multipurpose bays, 
each capable of housing any one of five 
devices: a floppy disk, CD-ROM, or DVD- 
ROM drive, a second hard disk, or a sec- 
ond battery. (Our test configuration in- 
cluded the DVD-ROM and floppy disk 
drives.) The E700 posted average scores 



SCORECARD 

The vendor grade for service and reliability is derived from 8,500 
readers’ responses to our most recent Service and Reliability 
Survey (July 1999). This overall grade reflects the vendor’s 
scores on four key measures: repair frequency in the past 12 
months and user satisfaction with reliability, technical support, 
and repair experiences. 

For the manageability rating, we give preference to DMI-compliant 
notebooks that can be managed on a network just like desktop PCs. Does 
the company plan to use the same components in the future? Can you use 
peripherals from one generation to the next? 

Our Web site support rating indicates how user-friendly and complete 
the vendor’s site is. We look for complete, up-to-date system specs, driver 
updates, and troubleshooting support. 

The performance rating reflects the machine’s showing on our bench- 
mark and battery rundown tests. 

YOUR CUSTOM SCORECARD: To find the notebook that best meets your particular needs, 
create your own custom scorecard online ( www.pcmag.com ). Just tell us what matters most 
to you and get an instant ranking of the notebooks according to your priorities. 


RED denotes Editors’ Choice. 


• •••-VERY GOOD 
•••-GOOD 
••-FAIR 
• -POOR 

A* 


/ 

s 

/ 

OVERALL 

Compaq Armada E700 

B 

• ••• 


• ••• 

• ••• 

Compaq Armada M700 

B 

• ••• 


• ••• 

• ••• 

Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 

B 

• ••• 


• •••• 

• •••• 

Dell Latitude CS R400XT 

B 

• ••• 


• • 

• ••• 

Gateway Solo 9300XL 

B 

• •• 


••••• 

• •• 

HP OmniBook 4150 

C 

• •••• 


• •••• 

• •••• 

IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU 

A 





IBM ThinkPad 600X 9EU 

A 

• •• 


• •••• 

• ••• 

NEC Versa LXi 

C 

• ••• 

• • 

•••• 

• ••• 

Toshiba Port6g6 7140CT 

B 

• ••• 


• •••• 

• •••• 

Toshiba Tecra 8100 

B 

• ••• 


••••• 

• •••• 

WinBook XL 3 500 

D 

• • 


• •••• 

• • 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 183 


NOTEBOOKS 



Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 


Approaching the 
corporate manage- 
ment ideal, the Dell 
Latitude C-series 
machines can share 
many of the drives 
with the ultraport- 
able Dell Latitude LS. 


Dell’s hot-dock utility 
lets you dock and un- 
dock systems and drives 
without powering down. 


on most of our benchmark tests, and its 
battery life (2:59) was also midpack. 

Just 1.25 inches thick, the 5.6-pound 
M700 (6.5 pounds with adapter) has a 
weaker sound system, a smaller hard disk, 
and only one multipurpose drive bay. 
This bay is identical to those used by the 


E700 and supports all the same devices. 
With the same processor and graphics 
engine as the E700, performance from the 
M700 was also right in the middle of the 
road, as was its 3:01 battery life. 

The Armada line includes three other 
models: the inexpensive V300, a 3-pound 


ultraportable known as the M300, and the 
E500, a smaller version of the E700. All of 
these support the same removable de- 
vices as the E700 and the M700, and all 
use at least one of the docking stations 
mentioned above. 

This is a well-conceived line of corpo- 
rate notebooks. The common peripherals 
make the Armadas strong contenders, and 
once they are in place, the ability to use a 
common software image will add to their 
appeal . — Cade Metz 

Dell Latitude CPx H500GT, 
CSR400XT 

CPx: Mobile Pentium 111/500, 10GB hard disk, 14.1-inch 
TFT screen, 8MB ATI Rage Mobility graphics, 24X CD- 
ROM, floppy disk drive. Winstone score: 25.7. $4,141 
direct. • • • • • CS: Mobile Pentium 11/400, 11.5GB 
hard disk, 13.3-inch TFT screen, 4MB NeoMagic 
MagicMedia 256ZX graphics, 24X external CD-ROM, 
external floppy disk drive. Winstone score: 17.2. $3,841. 
• • • • Round Rock, TX; 800-388-8542; 
www.dell.com. 

This pair of notebooks, the 6.9-pound 
two-spindle Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 
and the 4.8-pound one-spindle Dell Lati- 
tude CS R400XT, are exemplary corpo- 
rate machines, especially in the way they 
complement each other. The CPx uses 
the same batteries as the Dell Latitude 


PRICE/ 

PERFORMANCE 
INDEX 

The two Compaq entries 
had the highest per- 
formance/features 
scores. Alas, each is also the most 
expensive in its category. The two 
Toshiba entries had the best overall 
price/performance ratios. 



THE DATA POINTS: For the mainstream and 
desktop replacement notebooks, performance 
accounted for 23 percent of the overall score, 
screen size and resolution accounted for 15 
percent, and specifically corporate issues 
(manageability, common peripherals, and so 
on) accounted for another 15 percent. Warranty, 
service, support, battery life, and general 
features rounded out the rating. 

The thin and light notebooks were rewarded 
for low travel weight, small case size, and large 
screen size (17 percent of the score). Perfor- 
mance accounted for 26 percent of the score for 
notebooks in this category, and the BatteryMark 
test result accounted for 10 percent. Note that 
because we used different scales, scores are not 
directly comparable across categories but are 
relative to other machines’ scores in the same 
category. 


PERFORMANCE/ 
FEATURES 84 


8 

18 

92 

* j 

96 

MOST 

BANG 

PAn 

.... _ . 



• WinBook 


IBM 390X 


Dell CS 


0 IBM 600X 


• NEC 


• Mainstream and desktop replacement 

O Thin and light 

RED denotes Editors’ Choice. 


Toshiba Portege 


Toshiba Tecra 


Dell CPx ^ 


Gateway # 


Compaq M700 
HP. C 


Compaq E700 


184 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


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NOTEBOOKS 


CPi and CPt models (not reviewed here), 
and many of the same drives used by all 
the C-series machines can be used by 
the Dell Latitude LS, a 3.7-pound ultra- 
portable even thinner and lighter than the 
CS we tested. 

Both machines are available with Dell’s 
fine desktop management tool, IT Assis- 
tant, for seamless integration into your 
corporate network. Our favorite feature of 
the notebooks: Dell’s hot-dock utility 
(available for Microsoft Windows 98 and 
NT), which lets you dock and undock sys- 
tems or add and remove drives without 
powering down. Both of the systems offer 
only a few power management tools with- 
in Windows. You need not leave Win- 
dows, however, to access their BIOS setup 
screens: You can check on your PM set- 
tings without rebooting, although you’ll 
have to reboot to change those settings. 

Just under 2 inches thick, the CPx has a 
multipurpose front bay that accommo- 
dates one of eight different devices: a CD- 
ROM, floppy disk, DVD-ROM, Imation Su- 
perDisk, CD-RW, or Iomega Zip Drive; a 
second hard disk; or a second battery. The 
CPx model tested at PC Magazine Labs 
came with the floppy disk drive (which 
also attaches externally, in case you want 
to populate its bay with something else) 
and the CD-ROM drive. Conveniently, the 
CPx offers two pointing devices — a scroll- 
capable touch pad and a pointing stick. 
Performance was average on our Business 
Winstone 99 and Content Creation Win- 
stone 2000 tests, but the system had the 
second-best battery life of the group (3:33). 

At just 1.4 inches thick, the CS has an ex- 
ternal multipurpose drive bay to accom- 
modate drives other than its built-in hard 
disk; this takes the same devices as the 
CPx’s internal bay. These drives are also 
used by the Pentium II-based Dell Latitude 
CPi and the Celeron-based Dell Latitude 
CPt as well. Even better, the CPx, the CS, 
the CPi, and the CPt use the same two 
docking stations: One ($299) includes net- 
working and I/O ports, and the other 
($649) offers all the same technology plus 
PCI slots and the familiar multipurpose bay. 
Performance from the Pentium II-based 
CS trailed the group. 

We were impressed with the documen- 
tation and support tools supplied by Dell. 
The CPx and CS were two of only a few 
systems to arrive at PC Magazine Labs with 
both printed and electronic documenta- 
tion. And these machines are tagged with a 


Dell Express Service Code, letting you 
gather support information from Dell’s 
Web site in a matter of seconds. — CM 

Gateway Solo 9300XL 

Mobile Pentium 111/500, 128MB RAM, 11.5GB hard disk, 
15-inch TFT screen, 8MB ATI Rage Mobility graphics, 
4X DVD-ROM drive, 120MB SuperDisk. Winstone 
score: 29.4. $4,023 direct. North Sioux City, SD; 800- 
315-2536; www.gateway.com.# • • 

The flagship of Gateway’s notebook lines, 
the corporate-focused Gateway Solo 
9300XL is DMI 2.0-compliant and ships 
with Intel’s LANDesk Client Manager in- 
stalled. Offering a large screen, impres- 
sive overall performance, and compre- 
hensive corporate customer service and 
support programs, the 9300XL is a fine 
choice for users who don’t mind carrying 


a little extra weight (7.8 pounds without 
AC adapter, 8.7 pounds with) to have a 
fine desktop replacement notebook. 

The big unit includes a 56K modem and 
10/100 Ethernet support, both using 3Com 
components. The 9300XL has two USB 
ports for added peripheral expansion. No- 
table features include multimedia control 
buttons on the front of the case, function 
buttons behind the keyboard, and an 
SPDIF jack for digital audio output. The 
system also has a 4X DVD-ROM drive and 
an internal 120MB SuperDisk floppy disk 
drive as standard equipment. 

Gateway’s services for corporate cus- 
tomers include 90-day freezes on system 
images, advance notice of upcoming 


changes, and custom integration services 
including image downloads, network 
software installation, and asset tagging. 
The target for product life cycles is six to 
nine months. Memory, hard disks, and 
AC adapters are interchangeable among 
all Gateway notebooks. This Gateway 
notebook gives no ground in perfor- 
mance testing, achieving excellent Busi- 
ness Winstone 99, Business Disk Win- 
Mark, and Business Graphics WinMark 
scores. Its 2:58 battery life was average for 
the group. 

In addition to Gateway’s standard 
three-year service contract (which can be 
extended to four or five years), corporate 
customers can join the Mobile Access 
program, which provides priority tech- 


nical assistance, online data backups, help 
with software applications, and notebook 
depot service . — Bruce Brown 

HP OmniBook 4150 

Pentium 111/500, 11.5GB hard disk, 14.1-inch TFT 
screen, 8MB ATI Rage Mobility graphics, 4X DVD-ROM 
drive, floppy disk drive. $4,380 street. Winstone score: 
30.9. Palo Alto, CA; 800-322-4772; www.hp.com. 

• •••• 

The HP OmniBook 4150 is a remarkable 
machine, offering a 14.1-inch display and 
a multipurpose drive bay in a 6.8-pound 
chassis that is just 1.5 inches thick. But it 
is much more impressive when you con- 
sider how it dovetails with the rest of the 
4100 line as well as with the smaller, 
lighter HP OmniBook 900 systems. 



FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 189 


NOTEBOOKS 


SUMMARY OF FEATURES 


Power Portables 


■ YES □ NO 

Compaq 
Armada E700 

Compaq 

Armada 

M700 

Dell Latitude 
CPx H500GT 

Dell Latitude 
CS R400XT 

Gateway 
Solo 9300XL 

HP 

OmniBook 

4150 

IBM 

ThinkPad 
390X MNU 

IBM 

ThinkPad 
600X 9EU 

NEC 

Versa LXi 

Price of tested configuration 

$5,400 street 

$4,300 street 

$4,141 direct 

$3,841 direct 

$4,023 direct 

$4,380 street 

$4,090 street 

$4,200 street 

$4,450 street 

Processor 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium 11/ 
400 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Chip set 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440 BX 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440BX 

System weight/Travel weight (pounds)* 

8.8 / 9.8 

5.6 / 6.5 

6.9 / 7.9 

4.8 / 5.8 

7.8 / 8.7 

6.8 / 7.7 

7.6/ 8.4 

5.4 / 6.1 

8.8 / 9.7 

Dimensions (HWD, in inches) 

2.1 X 12.5 X 
10.4 

1.3 X 12.5 X 9.8 

1.8 X 12.5 X 9.9 

1.4 x 12.0 x 9.6 

1.6 X 12.7 X 
10.3 

1.5 X 12.8 X 
10.0 

1.8 X 12.9 X 
10.6 

1.4 X 11.8 X 9.4 

1.9 x 12.9 x 
10.5 

Installed SDRAM 

128MB 

64MB 

128MB 

128MB 

128MB 

128MB 

128MB 

128MB 

128MB 

Installed SRAM (L2 cache) 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

BIOS 

Compaq 
Version 1.1 

Compaq 
Version 1.1 

Dell/Phoenix 

A00 

Dell/Phoenix 

A01 

Phoenix 4.0 
Release 6.0 

Phoenix 4.0 
Release 6.0 

IBM Version 4 

IBM 

ITET35WW 

AMI Version 
1.0 

Hard disk capacity (formatted) 

24.2GB 

11.5GB 

10.1GB 

11.5GB 

11.5GB 

11.5GB 

11.5GB 

11.5GB 

9.6GB 

Manufacturer and model 

IBM 

DARA-22500 

IBM 

DARA-212000 

Fujitsu 

MHG2102AT 

IBM 

DARA-212000 

IBM 

DARA-212000 

IBM 

DARA-212000 

IBM 

DARA-212000 

Hitachi 

DK23AA-12 

IBM 

DCXA-210000 

Rotational speed and interface 

5,400-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

Supports Ultra ATA/DMA 66 

□ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

LCD panel size and technology 

15.0-inch TFT 

14.1-inch TFT 

14.1-inch TFT 

13.3-inch TFT 

15.0-inch TFT 

14.1-inch TFT 

15.0-inch TFT 

13.3-inch TFT 

15.0-inch TFT 

Graphics chip set 

ATI Rage 
Mobility 

ATI Rage 
Mobility 

ATI Rage 
Mobility 

NeoMagic 

MagicMedia 

256ZX 

ATI Rage 
Mobility 

ATI Rage 
Mobility 

NeoMagic 

MagicGraph 

256AV 

NeoMagic 

MagicMedia 

256ZX 

S3 SavageMX 

Graphics memory 

8MB SGRAM 

8MB SGRAM 

8MB SGRAM 

4MB SGRAM 

8MB SGRAM 

8MB SDRAM 

2.5MB SGRAM 

4MB SGRAM 

8MB SGRAM 

Floppy disk drive 

Swappable 

Swappable 

Swappable 

External 

Swappable 

Swappable 

Swappable 

Swappable 

Swappable 

Alternatives 

None 

None 

Iomega Zip 
100, Imation 
SuperDisk 

Iomega Zip 
100, Imation 
SuperDisk 

Imation 

SuperDisk 

Imation 

SuperDisk 

None 

None 

Imation 

SuperDisk 

Optical drive type 

4X DVD-ROM 

4X DVD-ROM 

4X CD-RW 

24X CD-ROM 

4X DVD-ROM 

4X DVD-ROM 

4X DVD-ROM 

6X DVD-ROM 

6X DVD-ROM 

Manufacturer and model 

Torisan 

DRD-U424 

Torisan 

DRD-U424 

KMD 1701U 

Samsung 

SCR-2438 

Torisan 

UJDA310L 

Toshiba 

SD-C2202 

Toshiba 

SD-C2202 

Toshiba 

SD-C2302 

Matsushita 

SR-8173-BNC 

Built-in speakers 

2 

2 

2 

1 

2 

2 

2 

2 

2 

Microphone 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

Line-in/line-out jack 

■ ■ 


■ ■ 


■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 

NTSC video-in/video-out 

□ □ 


□ □ 

□ □ 


□ □ 

□ □ 

□ □ 

□ □ 

Infrared (IrDA) speed 

4 Mbps 

4 Mbps 

1.1 Mbps 

N/A 

1.1 Mbps 

4 Mbps 

4 Mbps 

4 Mbps 

4 Mbps 

USB ports 

1 

1 

1 

1 

2 

1 

1 

1 

2 

Shared mouse/keyboard port 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

Port replicator 

$139 list 

$139 list 

$299 direct 

$299 direct 

$149 direct 

$189 list 

$155 list 

$189 list 

$159 list 

Full docking station 

$699 list 

$699 list 

$649 direct 

$649 direct 

$299 direct 

$775 list 

$395 list 

$695 list 

$799 list 

Modem 

None 

Internal (x2) 

PC Card (x2) 

PC Card (x2) 

Internal (x2) 

PC Card 
(K56flex) 

Internal 

(K56flex) 

Internal 

(K56flex) 

PC Card 
(K56flex) 

Built-in Ethernet adapter 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

PC Card Ethernet solution in tested 
configuration 

Lucent LAN/ 
Modem Combo 

Compaq 

Netelligent 

Xircom Real- 
port Ethernet 
10/100 

Xircom Real- 
port Ethernet 
10/100 

None 

Xircom Real- 
port Ethernet 
10/100 

10/100 Ether- 
Jet CardBus 
Adapter 

10/100 Ether- 
Jet CardBus 
Adapter 

3Com 10/100 
LAN CardBus 

PC Card slots and type 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

CardBus socket 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

Zoomed video support 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

Live technical-support hours 
(eastern time) 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

24 hours, 
7 days 

Standard warranty on parts/labor 

3 years/ 
3 years 

3 years/ 
3 years 

3 years/ 
3 years 

3 years/ 
3 years 

3 years/ 
3 years 

3 years/ 
3 years 

1 year/ 
1 year 

3 years/ 
3 years 

3 years/ 
3 years 

On-site service charge for 1 year 

$99 

$99 

Included 

Included 

$69 

$89 

$49 

$49 

N/A 

24-hour turnaround for parts 
replacement 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 


RED denotes Editor’s Choice. All systems have l,024-by-768 screen resolution and use lithium ion batteries with Smart Battery technology. All included modems run at 56K. 

* System weight is the PC plus battery, with all drive bays filled. Travel weight adds the AC adapter. ** Included with docking station. N/A-Not applicable: The product does not have this feature. 


190 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 




Individually, these 
ThinkPad models 
are brilliant 
machines. But IBM 
could do more 
in the way of com- 
mon peripherals 
and images. 




download at 

www.pcmag.com 


Toshiba 

Port6g6 

7140CT 


Toshiba 
Tecra 8100 


WinBook 
XL 3 500 



$3,500 street 

$3,900 street 

$3,468 direct 


Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 

Mobile 
Pentium III/ 
500 


Intel 440 BX 

Intel 440BX 

Intel 440BX 


4.2 / 4.8 

6.1 / 7.2 

7.3/ 8.2 


1.2 X 11.8 x 9.4 

1.6 x 12.5 x 
10.0 

1.8 x 12.0 x 9.8 


128MB 

128MB 

128MB 


256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 

256K pipelined- 
burst 


Toshiba V0.75 

Toshiba V1.03 

AMI Version 
1.04 


6.5GB 

9.6GB 

11.5GB 


Toshiba 

MK6411MAT 

IBM 

DARA-210000 

Hitachi 

DK23AA-12 


4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 

4,200-rpm IDE 


□ 

■ 

■ 


13.3-inch TFT 

14.1-inch TFT 

14.1-inch TFT 


Trident 

CyberBlade 

S3 SavageMX 
3D 

ATI Rage LT 
Pro 


4MB SDRAM 

8MB SGRAM 

8MB SGRAM 


None 

Swappable 

Swappable 


None 

Iomega Zip 
100 

Imation 

SuperDisk 


6X DVD-ROM 

6X DVD-ROM 

4X DVD-ROM 


Toshiba 

SD-C2302 

Toshiba 

SD-C2302 

Toshiba 

SD-C2202 


1 

2 

2 


■ 

■ 

■ 




■ ■ 






4 Mbps 

4 Mbps 

4 Mbps 


□ 

1 

■ 

■ 


Included 

$299 list 

$99 direct 


$649 list 

$798 list 

N/A 


Internal 

(K56flex) 

Internal 

(K56flex) 

Internal 

(K56flex) 


■** 

Optional** 

□ 


None 

None 

3Com 10/100 
LAN CardBus 


1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

1 Type III or 

2 Type II 

2 Type II 


■ 

■ 

■ 


■ 

■ 

■ 


24 hours, 7 
days 

24 hours, 7 
days 

8:00a-9:00p 
M-F, 9:00-4:00 
Sat. 


3 years/ 
3 years 

3 years/ 
3 years 

1 year/ 
1 year 


$79 

$79 

N/A 


■ 

■ 

□ 


Our contributors: Bill Howard is a senior executive editor at at PC Magazine. Cade Metz is a senior 
writer at PC Magazine, and Bruce Brown is a contributing editor. Senior associate editor Jamie M. 
Bsales and PC Magazine Labs senior project leader Rich Fisco were in charge of this story. 


Processor, display, and memory sizes 
vary, but each machine in the 4100 line 
uses the same chassis design. The chassis 
has a front bay compatible with any one 
of six different devices. The 500-MHz 
system reviewed here ships with a DVD 
drive and a floppy disk drive for use with 
the bay; a CD-ROM drive, a SuperDisk 
drive, a second battery, and a second hard 
disk are available separately. With an ad- 
ditional cable, you can also connect the 
floppy disk drive to the system’s parallel 
port, leaving the bay available to house 
another device. 

Its keyboard and display quality are 
average, and it includes both a touch pad 
and a pointing stick; you can use the 
pointing stick to select icons and win- 
dows on the desktop. Most important, 
this system’s batteries, its AC adapters, 
its port replicators, its docking station, 
and all the devices that fit into its multi- 
purpose bay can be used with the HP 
OmniBook 900 series, a line of 4-pound 
ultraportable notebooks. Equipped with 
identical graphics engines, both lines 
can use the same software image as well. 
Ideally, you’d buy OmniBook 4150s and 
900s in bulk, managing them all with 
TopTools — HP’s exemplary manage- 
ment utility — and readily swapping 


hardware between models. 

Performance overall was very good, 
and at 3:23, the OmniBook 4150’s battery 
life was excellent. We did notice instabili- 
ties in the unit’s CPUmark 99 perfor- 
mance, which could point to a power 
management problem that slows down 
the CPU when tight CPU-to-memory oper- 
ations are occurring. HP’s Web site offers 
driver updates and fixes, though config- 
uring and ordering online are not as pol- 
ished as we’ve found from Dell and oth- 
ers; you’ll want to go through traditional 
reseller channels. But the OmniBook 4150 
is worth the extra step. — CM 

IBM ThinkPad 390XMNU, 
ThinkPad 600X9EU 

390X: Mobile Pentium 111/500, 11.5GB hard disk, 15- 
inch TFT screen, 2.5MB NeoMagic MagicMedia 256AV 
graphics, 4X DVD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive. 
Winstone: 27.9. $4,090 street. • • • • 

600X: Pentium 111/500, 11.5GB hard disk, 13.3-inch Tin- 
screen, 4MB NeoMagic MagicGraph 256ZX graphics, 
6X DVD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive. Winstone: 32.1. 
$4,200. • • • • Research Triangle Park, NC; 800- 
426-7255, ext. 4754; www.ibm.com/pc/us. 

The IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU and the 
IBM ThinkPad 600X 9EU are brilliant 
notebook computers. The 5.4-pound 
600X is the market’s lightest two-spindle, 
and the 7.6-pound 390X is one of the 


IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU 


At 7.6 pounds, the IBM 
ThinkPad 390X MNU 
still manages to fit three 
spindles into its design. 


FEBRUARY8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 191 


NOTEBOOKS 


BENCHMARK TESTS 


Power Portables 



The HP OmniBook 4150 topped its competitors 
on ZD Business Winstone 99, a measure of 
overall system performance when running typi- 
cal business applications, thanks to a combina- 
tion of a fast IBM hard disk and an ATI Rage 
Mobility graphics chip. On multiple runs of ZD 
CPUmark 99, however, we noted instabilities in its score that 
varied by nearly a factor of 2. (In the table we present the best 
score obtained by each machine.) The inconsistency could 
point to a power management problem that slows down the 
CPU when tight CPU-to-memory operations are occurring in 
the absence of disk, graphics, or other I/O operations. We 
made all attempts to disable power management settings. 


life: The constraints on size and weight just don’t allow for 
a powerful battery. As a result, the larger notebooks lasted 
about 12 percent longer, on the average, than the thin and 
light notebooks. The longest battery life belonged to the 
IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU: nearly 4 hours. 

The ZD Business Disk WinMark 99 score reflects the 
performance of the hard disk subsystem. Again, the HP 
OmniBook 4150 was at the top, because of its IBM hard disk. 
Interestingly, the Compaq Armada E700 came with the 
largest (25GB) and fastest-spinning (5,400-rpm) drive, but 
it was not the best-performing drive. 

The ZD Business Graphics WinMark 99 tests stress a 
notebook’s 2-D graphics subsystem. Our first-place finisher 
here was the Gateway Solo 9300XL, which is based on the 
ATI Rage Mobility graphics chip. In fact, Rage Mobility- 
based notebooks took the top five spots. 


High scores are best 
Bold type denotes first place. 

ZD Business Winstone 99 

ZD Content Creation 
Winstone 2000 

ZD BatteryMark 3.0 
(hours:minutcs) 

ZD CPUmark 99 

ZD Business Disk 
WinMark 99 
(thousand of bytes 
per second) 

ZD Business 
Graphics 
WinMark 99 

Compaq Armada E700 

27.7 


20.1 

2:59 

47.6 

3,550 

127 

Compaq Armada M700 

27.4 

mu jt^ii ’ B 

19.7 

3:01 

47.9 

3,020 

126 

Dell Latitude CPxH500GT 

26.9 


19.0 

3:33 

46.7 

3,210 

122 

Dell Latitude CSR400XT 

18.2 

j 

14.9 

3:15 

34.3 

2,780 

44 

Gateway Solo 9300XL 

29.4 

'■HHHHi 

23.4 

00 

cJ 

46.9 

3,740 

145 

HP OmniBook 4150 

30.4 


24.1 

3:31 

47.5 

4,030 

121 

IBM ThinkPad 390XMNU 

20.7 

- 

19.1 

3:47 

47.6 

3,050 

48 

IBM ThinkPad 600X9EU 

27.9 


20.8 

2:35 

47.3 

3,960 

84 

NEC Versa LXi 

26.2 

. ■ - -f 

18.2 

2:30 

47.3 

3,090 

104 

Toshiba Port6g6 7140CT 

27.5 


21.6 

2:25 

47.5 

3,550 

82 

Toshiba Tecra 8100 

28.1 


21.1 

3:00 

47.4 

3,140 

113 

WinBook XL3 500 

28.1 


24.1 

3.00 

47.5 

3,010 

118 

RED denotes Editors’ Choice. 


| BETTER ► 

| BETTER ► 

| BETTER ► 

1 




If you create video, audio, or Internet content on your 
notebook, look at the top performers on our ZD Content 
Creation Winstone 2000 test program. Because the tests are 
based on application hot spots — those subsystem-intensive 
moments when users have to wait for their PCs to catch 
up— all subsystems (especially disk and CPU subsystems) 
need to be both fast and balanced, with a minimum of laten- 
cy and timing delays. Although any vendor optimizations 
may not easily be seen when testing an individual subsys- 
tem, they show up here, because the whole system is tested. 
Finishing in a tie for first place were the HP OmniBook 4150 
and the WinBook XL 3 500. CPUmark 99 scores were very 
close. That’s not surprising, since all the notebooks but one 
(the Mobile Pentium Il/^oo-based Dell Latitude CS 
R400XT) are based on the Mobile Pentium III/500. The 
Mobile Pentium III/500 is based on the same core as the 
desktop Coppermine processors. Including the same new 
technology as the desktop Pentium III, such as advanced 
transfer cache (256K of full-speed L2 cache), the Mobile 
Pentium III should be close to its desktop counterpart on 
CPU and memory operations. 

ZD BatteryMark 3.0 measures a system’s battery life 
while running our heavy-usage scenario. The thin and light 
notebooks are the systems that appeal most to road war- 
riors, but ironically, they tend not to have the best battery 


▲ The HP OmniBook 4150 posted 
the best performance for business 
applications overall, based on ZD 
Business Winstone 99. But its ZD 
CPUmark score varied widely— from 


a low of 25.5 to a high of 47.5 (pre- 
sented here). We typically see varia- 
tions of only 2 to 3 percent from run 
to run. The IBM ThinkPad 390X 
MNU had the longest battery life. 


On the i-Bench test suite, the Toshiba Tecra 8100 
performed best overall: It bested the field on the Load Com- 
plex Pages test, the XML (extensible Markup Language) tests, 
and the VRML test. The Load Complex Pages and XML tests 
showed how well the Tecra handles loading text and graphics 
Web pages. Its top score on the VRML test reflected its graph- 
ics and Direct3D performance. The RealVideo G2 LAN test 
showed a slight edge going to the Compaq Armada M700 and 
the Gateway Solo 9300XL. The Java VM test, which exercises 
the processor, showed the Gateway machine coming in first. 

HOW WE TESTED 

We tested all systems with Windows NT 4.0 and 128MB of 
RAM; each system also had 5GB or more of hard disk space. 
We stripped each system’s start-up configuration of all 
processes or tasks except for Explorer, Systray, and graphics 
card control panels. The resolution for all tests was set at 
1,024^-768, true color, with small fonts. We also disabled 
all power management features. We used the vendor’s 
provided graphics driver for each system. For our ZD > 


192 


PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 








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NOTEBOOKS 


BENCHMARK TESTS 


Continued 

BatteryMark 3.0 test we use standard power management 
settings: 2 minutes for hard disk time-out (or the closest 
value available) and Auto or Fast CPU speed. 

Our ZD Business Winstone 99 tests measure the time a PC 
takes to execute a set of scripts that exercise eight office-suite 
Windows 98 applications and an Internet browser. The 
scripts include task switching between a suite application and 
the browser. Business Winstone 99 weights a PC’s test tim- 
ings based on the applications’ unit market shares; it derives a 
composite number and converts that to a relative score. (The 
score is relative to the performance of a Dell Dimension 
XPS — a Pentium MMX/233 with 32MB of SDRAM at 1,024-by- 
768 resolution with 24-bit color, running Windows NT 4.0 
with Service Pack 3. The base score is defined as 10.) 

We also ran our ZD Content Creation Winstone 2000. 
Much like our other Winstone tests, Content Creation 
Winstone measures the performance of a Windows 98 or 
Windows NT PC while running the following top Internet 
content creation applications: Adobe Photoshop 5.0, Adobe 
Premiere 5.1, Macromedia’s Director 7.0, Macromedia’s 
Dreamweaver 2.0, Netscape Navigator 4.6, and Sonic 
Foundry’s Sound Forge 4.5. (The score is relative to the 


of disk functions used by the applications in the Business 
Winstone test suite and represents the performance of each 
machine’s disk subsystem running Windows NT 4.0. We 
record the results in thousands of bytes per second and 
convert them to a harmonic mean, weighting the applica- 
tions in the same way as in the Business Winstone 99 score. 

The ZD Business Graphics WinMark 99 score is based on a 
log of GDI operations used by the applications in the Busi- 
ness Winstone 99 suite and represents the performance of 
each machine’s graphics subsystem while running Windows 
NT 4.0. The score is relative to that of the base system used 
for Business Winstone testing, whose score is defined as 10. 

For testing performance on the Internet, we used ZD 
i-Bench, a cross-platform benchmark program that tests a 
client’s performance and capabilities using the latest Inter- 
net technology and features. Clients can range from a 
browser on a PC with a modem to a wireless hand-held 
device — anything that can display standard HTML. The 
series of tests measures both speed and the scope of the 
client’s features. We ran the following i-Bench tests on all 
systems. The Load Complex Pages test measures how quick- 
ly the browser can load and scroll pages of text and graph- 
ics. The extensible Markup Language tests measure how 


ZD i-BENCH 

A High scores are best. 

▼ Low scores are best, 

Bold type denotes first place. 

Processor 

Load Complex 
Pages 

Seconds T 

XML: CSS 
Execution 

Seconds T 

XML: XSL 
Execution 
Seconds V 

VRML 

Frames per second A 

RealVideo 
G2 LAN 

Seconds ▼ 

JavaVM 

Score A 

Compaq Armada E700 

Mobile PIII/500 

18 

25 

4 

15 

69 

50,722 

Compaq Armada M700 

Mobile PIII/500 

16 

11 

4 

15 

67 

52,843 

Dell Latitude CPx H500GT 

Mobile PIII/500 

16 

12 

4 

16 

68 

51,665 

Dell Latitude CS R400XT 

Mobile PII/400 

25 

24 

5 

10 

68 

37,636 

Gateway Solo 9300XL 

Mobile PIII/500 

17 

11 

4 

15 

67 

53,669 

HP OmniBook 4150 

Mobile PIII/500 

15 

11 

4 

15 

68 

52,225 

IBM ThinkPad 390X MNU 

Mobile PIII/500 

19 

20 

4 

13 

68 

48,747 

IBM ThinkPad 600X 9EU 

Mobile PIII/500 

22 

22 

4 

13 

68 

49,837 

NEC Versa LXi 

Mobile PIII/500 

18 

14 

4 

15 

68 

52,225 

Toshiba Portege 7140CT 

Mobile PIII/500 

16 

14 

4 

12 

68 

51,664 

Toshiba Tecra 8100 

Mobile PIII/500 

14 

10 

4 

18 

68 

52,785 

WinBookXL3 500 

Mobile PIII/500 

16 

12 

4 

15 

68 

53,315 


RED denotes Editors’ Choice. 


performance of the same base machine described above 
but with 64MB of SDRAM. The base score is defined as 10.) 

ZD BatteryMark 3.0 measures a notebook’s life by exercis- 
ing three different 32-bit software workload engines, one 
each for processor, disk, and graphics tasks. BatteryMark 3.0 
mixes these workloads together and adds periodic “think 
times,” or breaks, that reflect normal user pauses in work. 
Because Windows NT 4.0 does not support ACPI or APM, we 
ran the benchmark test with no power management enabled 
unless the vendor supplied a third-party Windows NT pro- 
gram. ZD cpumark 99 is a processor-subsystem benchmark 
test that lets us measure the speed of a PC’s processor sub- 
system, which includes the CPU, RAM, and RAM cache. 
CPUmark 99 emulates the CPU activity of the real-world 32- 
bit applications used in Business Winstone 99. Because the 
applications in Business Winstone 99 do not use floating- 
point or MMX instructions, neither does CPUmark 99. 

The ZD Business Disk WinMark 99 score is based on a log 


▲ Results on our ZD i-Bench 

tests were fairly close across the 
board. The Toshiba Tecra 8100 was 
a tick faster on the Load Complex 
Pages test than the second-place 


HP OmniBook 4150 (14 seconds 
versus 15). The Dell Latitude CS 
R400XT generally trailed the field 
because of its Mobile Pentium 
11/400 processor. 


quickly the browser can download, format, and display 
XML pages: The css (cascading style sheets) test applies 
complex formatting to multiple pages, while the xsl 
(extensible Style Language) test lets users customize the 
way content on a Web page is displayed. 

The graphics-intensive VRML test evaluates Direct3D per- 
formance. It measures how well a system and a VRML client 
(Blaxxun Contact 4.2) display a clip containing a complex 
3-D animation. The RealVideo G2 LAN test measures how well 
a browsing environment handles RealVideo clips. We run a 
clip suitable for LAN playback, compressed at 150 Kbps. The 
Java VM test, a processor test, measures how well a system 
handles processor work with the Java VM. 


194 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 





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NOTEBOOKS 


lighter, thinner three-spindle models. 
Their keyboards are unrivaled, and their 
ebony-black chassis are unusually hand- 
some. IBM falls behind makers such as 
Dell, HP, and Toshiba when it comes to 
common peripherals, common software 
images, and other details that affect man- 
aging a corporate fleet, but these ma- 
chines are still serious contenders. 

Both these systems have keyboards 
that are extremely comfortable to use, 
with keys that are firm yet responsive. 
Both systems also use the IBM TrackPoint 
pointing stick, which can now be used to 
select icons in Windows and to scroll 
through various applications. We partic- 
ularly liked the units’ Power Management 
interface, which is entirely Windows- 
based; you needn’t access the BIOS to 
change settings. 

Well equipped on its own, the 390X 
system can’t be used with a full docking 


chines that will remain unchanged over 
each model’s nine-month life cycle. Each 
of these workhorse models will support 
the same software image whether you 
make your purchase at the beginning or 
the end of that cycle. 

Equipped with a floppy disk drive and 
a DVD-ROM drive (a $390 option), the 
390X is 1.8 inches thick and weighs 7.6 
pounds (8.4 with AC adapter). The floppy 
disk and DVD-ROM drives are part of a sin- 
gle module that easily slides in and out of 
a side multipurpose bay. This bay can also 
be used with a CD-ROM/floppy disk drive 
module, an Imation SuperDisk drive, an 
Iomega Zip Drive, a second battery, or a 
second hard disk. The unit’s performance 
was average or a touch below on our tests, 
though the battery life (3:23) was excellent. 

The 600X also has a multipurpose 
drive bay. The DVD-ROM and floppy disk 
drives are separate, though the floppy 



station, but it does support two port repli- 
cators: the simple Port Replicator 380 
($155) and the Etherjet ($400), which of- 
fers an Ethernet adapter. The 600X uses 
two different docking stations: the 
SelectaBase 600 (a $190 port replicator) 
and the $700 SelectaDock III (a full dock- 
ing station with built-in Ethernet, drive 
bays, and PCI slots). 

To aid IT departments with long-term 
rollouts, IBM offers versions of both ma- 


disk drive can attach either internally or 
externally, so you can have it and any one 
of six other devices (CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, 
SuperDisk, Zip Drive, second battery, or 
second hard disk) in use at once. Conve- 
niently, you can use these peripherals 
with the IBM ThinkPad 570 line as well. 

Equipped with DVD-ROM and an AC 
adapter, the unit weighs a mere 6.4 
pounds. By comparison, the HP Omni- 
Book 4150 weighs 7.7 pounds, and the 


Dell Latitude CPx H500GT weighs 7.9. 
The 600X was the top performer overall 
(as measured by the comprehensive 
Business Winstone 99), and its battery 
life, 2:35, was acceptable for such a light 
machine. — CM 

NEC Versa LXi 

Mobile Pentium 111/500, 128MB RAM, 9.6GB hard 
disk, 15-inch TFT screen, S3 SavageMX graphics, 6X 
DVD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive. $4,450 street. 
Winstone score: 24.9. Mountain View, CA; 888-632- 
8701; www.nec-computers.com. • • • • 

The NEC Versa LXi is the most powerful 
notebook sold by the recently renamed 
NEC Computers and takes advantage of 
backward compatibility with previous 
models for many system components. NEC 
offers a variety of custom-build and user- 
support services for corporate customers, 
with an emphasis on meeting client spec- 
ifications. Although the Versa LXi did not 
have particularly good battery life on our 
test, its generous support makes it a strong 
choice for corporate adoption. 

At 8.8 pounds (9.7 with the AC 
adapter), the Versa LXi is one of the heav- 
iest notebooks we tested. Part of the 
blame, of course, lies with the 15-inch 
screen. The integrated Ethernet and 
modem jacks can utilize internal mini-PCI 
boards, although the test system was 
equipped with 3Com modem and NIC PC 
Card solutions, which also can access the 
integrated jacks. 

NEC does not ship Intel LANDesk CDs 
with the Versa LXi. Rather, on a build-to- 
order basis, NEC will install and ship the 
software preferred by customers and will 
also burn software images and enter all 
configuration information. Continuity 
with the previous LX notebooks includes 
using common AC adapters; removable 
hard disks and floppy disk, DVD, CD, and 
SuperDisk drives; and second batteries. 
The LXi also can use the docking station 
and port replicator from the earlier model. 
NEC’s goal for its corporate notebooks is 
to hold a platform design for a year to a 
year and a half for model stability. 

The NEC unit posted average scores 
on our benchmark tests, but battery life 
(2:30) was rather short for a machine in 
this weight class. 

In addition to offering extended war- 
ranties that can last up to five years, NEC 
can build Web sites for corporate cus- 
tomers. For system continuity and cus- 
tom software configurations, the NEC 
Versa LXi is worth considering . — BB 


196 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



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NOTEBOOKS 


Toshiba Portege 7140CT, 

Tecra 8100 

7140CT: Pentium 111/500, 6.5GB hard disk, 13.3-inch 
screen, 4MB Trident CyberBlade graphics, external 
floppy disk drive. Winstone: 27.5. $3,500 street. 

• • • • • 8100: Pentium 111/500, 9.5GB hard disk, 
14.1-inch screen, 8MB S3 Savage 3D graphics, DVD-ROM 
drive, floppy disk drive. Winstone: 28.1. $3,900. 

• • • • • Irvine, CA; 800-867-4422, 949-598-7802; 
www.computers.toshiba.com. 

Toshiba America offers two 
upmarket designs: the single- 
spindle Toshiba Portege 
7140CT and the larger, more 
powerful Toshiba Tecra 8100. 
The 7140CT shares hardware 
with earlier Portege models, 
and the 8100 is fairly compatible with ear- 
lier Tecras. Both ship with the latest ver- 


a floppy disk drive and a half-pound port 
replicator, both of which attach external- 
ly. For an additional $650, you can pur- 
chase the 2.6-pound DVD Network Dock 
II, a slim (less than i-inch-thick) docking 
station that includes DVD and floppy disk 
drives, additional I/O ports, stereo speak- 
ers, and an Ethernet adapter. (The dock is 
also compatible with Toshiba Portege 
7020 and 7010 models, as is the note- 
book’s AC adapter.) You can easily travel 
with this device attached to the 7140CT, 
making a complete system at 6.8 pounds. 
Performance and battery life were more 
than acceptable for a machine of this size. 

The 8100 delivers a full complement of 
I/O ports and a multipurpose drive bay 
on-board, yet it still manages a 1. 6-inch 
chassis. The bay can accommodate any 




All Toshiba Tecra 
8100 s come with 
the same mother- 
board and chassis; 
the rest is up to you 


Unusually, the Toshiba 
Tecra 8100’s pointing 
stick is supported by 
four mouse buttons. 


Toshiba Tecra 8100 


sion of Intel’s desktop management appli- 
cation, LANDesk Client Manager, and come 
with a variety of core components. The un- 
surpassed value for the dollar makes these 
machines our Editors’ Choices. 

Both the 7140CT and the 8100 offer an 
unusually effective Windows-based power 
management interface and a pointing stick 
supported by four different mouse but- 
tons. Two of these buttons let you scroll in 
certain Windows applications. 

The 7140CT is just 1.2 inches thick and 
weighs a mere 4.2 pounds (4.8 with AC 
adapter). Though the main system lacks 
serial, parallel, and mouse ports and re- 
movable-media drives, Toshiba supplies 


one of seven devices. Equipped with the 
DVD drive, the system weighs 6.1 pounds 
(7.2 pounds with AC adapter). 

You can use the 8100 with one of two 
docking stations. Meant to remain on your 
desktop, the Network Dock Port Replica- 
tor ($300) includes a network adapter and 
all the expected I/O ports. If you need PCI 
slots and standard 5.25-inch bays, you can 
attach the Network Dock to a larger Ex- 
pansion Station ($400). With an adapter, 
the Expansion Station can also accommo- 
date any of the drives that plug into the 
8100’s multipurpose bay. Both the docking 
stations and all the 8100 drives can be 
used with any Toshiba Tecra 8000. 


The 8100 is a built-to-order system 
available in several thousand configura- 
tions. Each configuration uses the same 
motherboard and the same chassis, let- 
ting you standardize on a single software 
image and swap hardware between mod- 
els. The 8100 was a good performer on 
our benchmark tests, and its 3:00 battery 
life put it right in the middle of the pack. 

Like HP’s and NEC’s, Toshiba’s Web site 
is a good resource for driver updates and 
information, but you will need to go 
through an authorized reseller to make a 
purchase. — CM 

WinBook XL 3 500 

Mobile Pentium 111/500, 128MB RAM, 11.5GB hard 
disk, 14.1-inch TFT screen, 8MB ATI Rage LT Pro 
graphics, 4X DVD-ROM drive, 120MB SuperDisk drive. 
$3,468 direct. Winstone score: 28.1. Columbus, OH; 
800-254-7806; www.winbook.com. • • 

WinBook Computer Corp. has a history of 
bundling an attractive array of features in 
its notebook PCs for compelling prices, and 
the WinBook XL 3 500 is no exception. 
WinBook has a sales force for corporate 
customers along with priority technical 
support. Beyond special pricing for volume 
purchases and a dedicated salesperson, 
however, corporate customers won’t find 
many special services (such as custom 
Web pages for support), although volume 
customers can specify components and re- 
quest image burns of licensed software. 
Thus, while there is a good deal of appar- 
ent value in the XL 3 , it is most appropriate 
for companies that do not need extra levels 
of corporate support or services. 

At 7.3 pounds (8.2 with AC adapter), the 
XL 3 is on the heavy side. Components such 
as the AC adapter, battery, and docking sta- 
tions are interchangeable with the earlier 
WinBook XL and XL 2 notebooks. Product 
life cycles for WinBook notebooks can be 
guaranteed by arrangement, but there is no 
formal design-longevity policy. 

The XL 3 has an internal 56K modem 
and is equipped with both a pointing 
stick and a touch pad (both are active at 
the same time). On most benchmark 
tests, the XL 3 was an average performer, 
but it delivered an above-average score 
on our Business Winstone and Content 
Creation Winstone tests. Battery life 
(3:00) was average for the field. 

WinBook’s standard one-year warran- 
ty does not include on-site support, but a 
number of extended service plans are 
available, including one with 48-hour re- 
pair turnaround service. — BB = 


198 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 




dimachine 


iLLliJ 

tzi\2 ei: 


$839.00 

System Specification 

• Intel® Pentium® III Processor 500 MHz 
with 51 2K Cache 

• 64MB Synchronized DRAM 

• TNT2 VGA with 16MB Memory 

• Stereo Audio Build-in 

• 8 GB EIDE Hard Disk Drive 

• 52X CD-ROM Drive 

• 1.44MB Floppy Drive 

• 3Com USR 56Kbps V.90 PCI FAX/Modem 

Software Included 

• Microsoft® Windows® 98 Second Edition 

• Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 


(JILL- 


$739.00 

System Specification 

• Intel® Celeron™ Processor 466 MHz 
with 128K Cache 

• 64MB Synchronized DRAM 

• Intel® VGA with DVMT share memory 

• 8 GB EIDE Hard Disk Drive 

• 8X DVD Drive 

• 1 .44MB Floppy Drive 

• 56Kbps V.90 PCI FAX/Modem 

• 4 Channel 3D Surround Sound Speakers 
with Subwoofer 


Software Included 

• Microsoft® Windows® 98 Second Edition 

• MP 3 Player 

• Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 


$639.00 

System Specification 

• Intel® Celeron™ Processor 466 MHz 
with 128K Cache 

• 64MB Synchronized DRAM 

• VGA with DVMT share memory 

• Stereo Audio 

• 4.3 GB EIDE Hard Disk Drive 

• 44X CD-ROM Drive 

• 1 .44MB Floppy Drive 

• 56Kbps V.90 PCI FAX/Modem 


Software Included 

• Microsoft® Windows® 98 Second Edition 

• Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 


Basic Accessory 

• Micro ATX Chassis w/ 200W PS 

• PS/2 107-Key Keyboard 

• PS/2 Two Button Mouse 

• Stereo Speakers 


Service & Support 

One year limited warranty. 
^Extended warranty available. 


$400.00 Rebate from ISP is available. 
Please contact us for details! 



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CALL 1-510-353-1220 www.aimachine.com 


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©2000 Caliber Computer Corp. Prices and specifications subject to change without notice. 

Intel, the Intel Inside logo and Pentium are registered trademarks, Celeron is a trademark of Intel Corporation. 

Caliber logo, Caliber Computer Corp., Aimachine and Aimachine logo are registered trademarks of Caliber Computer Corp. All other trademarks are properties of their respective companies. 






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A presentation of ITVS 
Produced by Studio Miramar 





SP Seagate 


1 8.2gb scsi-2 
$510 Barracuda 18LP 

Int. Hard Drive (ST318275LW) $640 Ext.(ST3i8275LWX) 



E3 HEWLETT ' 


PACKARD 


1 0-20cb scsi-2 

$419 Shurestore T201, TR-5 minicart, 

Int. Tape Drive (C4394A) $509 Ext. (C4394AX) 


YAMAHA 

8x4x24 CDR-W $289 

(Write x Rewrite x Read) 

Bare SCSI-2, 4MB buffer, tray load 
Int. (YCRW8424S) 

$349 Ext. (YCRW8424SX) 


Panasonic 
1x20x2 $539 

(DVD RAM) (CD ROM) (DVD ROM) 

SCSI-2 DVD RAM Drive Kit * 

Reads DVD-ROM, 

DVD-R and CD-RW. Incl. Disks (lfdio3U) 



<S Seagate 

48-96gb scsi-2 

$2159 Scorpion 96 
Dat 125m, 

Int. Tape Drive (STL49600N) $2179 Ext. (stl4960onx) 



TOSHIBA 

1x16x2 $429 

Bare SCSI-2 DVD RAM Drive 

Reads DVD-ROM, DVD-R, CD-ROM, DVD & CD Video, 

CD Audio, CD-R & CD-RW disks. (SDWini) 


ULTRA AM-66 IDE HARD DRIVES M ULTRA-SCSI HARD DRIVES M CD REWRITERS X REMOVABLE DRIVES 


4.3GB 

512k 

5400 

QML04300LA 

1 

$95 

5.1GB 

512k 

5400 

QML05100LA 

1 

$110 

8.4GB 

512k 

5400 

QML08400LA 

1 

$119 

10.2GB 

512k 

5400 

QML10200LA 

1 

$129 

13.0GB 

512k 

5400 

QML13000LA 

1 

$135 

13.6GB 

512k 

7200 

KX313600A 

3 

$165 

15.0GB 

512k 

5400 

QML15000LA 

1 

$149 

17.3GB 

512k 

5400 

QML17300LA 

1 

$159 

20.4GB 

512k 

5400 

QML20400LA 

1 

$189 

20.5GB 

512k 

7200 

KX320500A 

3 

$210 

26.0GB 

512k 

5400 

QML26000LA 

1 

$265 

27.3GB 

512k 

7200 

KX327300A 

3 

$275 

30.0GB 512k 

SEAGATE 

5400 

QML30000LA 

1 

$325 

4.3GB 

256k 

5400 

ST34314A 

3 

$99 

8.4GB 

256k 

5400 

ST38410A 

3 

$118 

13.0GB 

512k 

5400 

ST313021A 

3 

$135 

17.2GB 

512k 

5400 

ST317221A 

3 

SI 53 

20.4GB 

512k 

7200 

ST320430A 

3 

$189 

28.0GB 

IBM 

512k 

7200 

ST328040A 

3 

$245 

9.1GB 

2MB 

7200 

IBM9GXP 

3 

$123 

13.5GB 

2MB 

7200 

IBM13GXP 

3 

$143 

20.0GB 

2MB 

7200 

IBM20GXP 

3 

$210 

20.3GB 

2MB 

5400 

IBM20GP 

3 

$179 

25.0GB 

2MB 

5400 

IBM25GP 

3 

$225 

27.3GB 

2MB 

7200 

IBM27GXP 

3 

$254 

34.2GB 

2MB 

7200 

IBM34GXP 

3 

$335 

37.5GB 2MB 5400 

WESTERN DIGITAL 

IBM37GP 

3 

$335 

4.3GB 

512k 

5400 

WDAC43AA 

3 

$105 

6.4GB 

512k 

5400 

WDAC64AA 

3 

$110 

8.4GB 

512k 

5400 

WDAC84AA 

3 

$120 

10.2GB 

512k 

5400 

WDAC102AA 

3 

$126 

13.0GB 

512k 

5400 

WDAC136AA 

3 

$137 

13.6GB 

2MB 

7200 

WDAC136BA 

3 

$155 

17.2GB 

512k 

5400 

WDAC172AA 

3 

$159 

20.5GB 

512k 

5400 

WDAC205AA 

3 

$195 

20.5GB 

2MB 

7200 

WDAC205BA 

3 

$250 

27.3GB 

2MB 

7200 

WDAC273BA 

3 

$280 

30.0GB 

MAXTOR 

512k 

5400 

WDAC310AA 

3 

$265 

8.7GB 

512k 

5400 

M90871U2 

3 

$112 

10.2GB 

2MB 

7200 

M91024U3 

3 

$135 

13.6GB 

512k 

5400 

M91301U3 

3 

$129 

13.6GB 

2MB 

5400 

M91369U3 

3 

$150 

13.6GB 

2MB 

7200 

M91366U4 

3 

$145 

17.3GB 

2MB 

5400 

M91737U4 

3 

$160 

17.4GB 

512k 

5400 

M91741U4 

3 

$150 

27.3GB 

2MB 

7200 

M92732U8 

3 

$209 

36.5GB 

2MB 

5400 

M9365U28 

3 

$315 



Turn your drive into a removable! Call for details! 


DataPort VII 

Kit 

Extra frame 

Extra cartridge 

IDE 

$129 

$69 

$79 

Ultra SCSI 

$139 

$79 

$89 

Ultra Wide SCSI 

$149 

$89 

$89 

Metal carrying case w/wheel combination lock $49 


The Drive Cooler Kee P y° ur drives running cool with The 
ff 1 ” "' " — ""1 Drive Cooler. Thermostatically Controlled 
-pass : Cooling System 'makes twin fans respond 
to warming temperatures of drives by mov- 
ing more air, $25 


Color CD Printer 

High quality color printing on 
printable media. Gives a 
more professional image to 
your CDS. (CDPRINTER3)S1 129 
Color/Black Toner S69/S59 
Printer w/50 printable disks (CDPRINT53) $1 229 



Add an Adaplec A2940U PCI Ultra SCSI controller for $ 1 69 

SCSI RPM Brand Model Price 

4.5GB 7200 Seagate ST34520N SI 90 

9.1GB 7200 IBM IBM309170N $250 

9.1GB 7200 Seagate ST39140N $289 

18.2GB 7200 IBM IBM318350N $420 


ULTRA WIDE SCSI HARD DRIVES 


Add a Tekram DC390F PCI UW SCSI controller for $99 

WIDE RPM Brand Model Price 

9.1GB 7200 IBM IBM309170W $250 

18.2GB 7200 IBM IBM318350W $420 


ULTRA-2 SCSI HARD DRIVES 


80MB/Sec! Add an Adaptec PCI Ultra-2 SCSI controller for $229 

WIDE RPM Brand Model Price 

7200 IBM 
7200 Seagate 
10,000 IBM 
10,000 Seagate 
7200 IBM 
10,000 IBM 
7200 Seagate 
10,000 Seagate 


9.1GB 

9.1GB 

9.1GB 

9.1GB 

18.2GB 

18.2GB 

18.2GB 

18.2GB 

18.2GB 

36.4GB 

36.4GB 

36.4GB 

50.1GB 


IBM309170U2 $250 
ST39175LW $307 

IDMVS9U2 $369 
ST39103LW $405 

IBM318350U2 $420 
IDMVS18U2 $629 
ST318275LW $460 

ST318203LW $645 


10,000 Seagate ( 4MB) ST318203LW4 $665 
10,000 IBM IDMVS36U2 $1015 

7200 Seagate ST136475LW $879 

10,000 Seagate ST136403LW $1095 

7200 Seagate ST150176LW $949 


160MB/Sec! 

WIDE RPM Brand 

9.1GB 7200 Quantum 

9.1GB 10,000 Quantum 

18.2GB 7200 Quantum 

18.2GB 10,000 Quantum 

36.4GB 7200 Quantum 

36.4GB 10,000 Quantum 


Model Price 

KN309100LW $269 
TN309100LW $399 
KN318200LW $450 
TN318200LW $635 
KN336400LW S845 
TN336400LW $1050 


TAPE DRIVES 


SONY 

4-8Gig DDS-2 DAT, 90MB/min, SDT7000AI 
1 2-24Gig DDS-3 DAT, 1 44MB/min, SDT9000AI 


20-40Gig DDS-4 DAT, 288MB/mm, SDT10000AI $995 


1 2-96Gig DDS-3 DAT, 1 44MB/min, TSL9000 $1899 

QUANTUM 

20-40Gig DLT, 180MB/min, DLT4000 $1649 

External, our case DLT4000X $1 749 

35-70Gig DLT, 600MB/min, DLT7000 $4375 

External, our case DLT7000X $4475 

40-80Gig DLT, 600MB/min, DLT 8000 $4599 

External, our case DLT8000X $4699 

HEWLETT PACKARD 

4-8Gig DDS-2 DAT, 60MB/min, Cl 599AI $569 

1 2-24Gig DDS-3 DAT, 1 20MB/min, Cl 554AI $729 

72-144Gig DDS-3 DAT, 1 20MB/min, C5648A $1999 

SEAGATE 

2-4Gig DAT-DC, 66MB/min, STD24000N $419 
4-8Gig Mini, 30MB/min,STT28000N $229 
4-8Gig Mini, 60MB/min,STT28000NC $365 
4-8Gig DDS-2 DAT, 66MB/min, STD28000N $535 
1 0-20 Gig Mini, 1 OOMB/min, STT2200BARE $309 
12-24Gig DDS-3 DAT, 1 32MB/min, STD224000N $689 

30-70Gig AIT, 360MB/min, STA2701W $1779 
48-96Gig DDS-2DAT, 48MB/min, STL496000N S2045 
SEAGATE MINI CART 
4-8Gig Mini, 30MB/min, STT28000N SCSI $229 
4-8Gig Mini, 60MB/min, STT28000NC $359 
EXABYTE 

7-1 4Gig 8mm, 1 20MB/min, ELIANT820 $1299 c 
20-40Gig 8mm, 360MB/min, EXB8900 $2119 < 

70-140Cig 8mm, 60MB/min, EXB10H $2539; 


4x2x20 Plextor CD Rewritable 

Packet write, 2MB buffer, tray load 

Int. SCSI drive (PXW4220B) $249 

6x4x24 IDE Ricoh CD Rewritable 

Int IDE tray load, 2MB buffer (MP7060A) $189 

Hotport External w/soft & 1 RW disk (MP7060AKHP) $319 

6x4x24 SCSI Ricoh CD Rewritable 

Packet write, 2MB buffer 

Int. SCSI drive (MP7060S) $199 

Ext. SCSI drive (MP7060SX) $259 

Int. drive with software & 1 disk (MP7060SK) $259 

8x2x20 Plextor CD Rewritable 

Packet write, 4MB buffer, tray load 

Int. SCSI drive (PXW8220R) Hot Drive! $369 

Ext. SCSI drive (PXW8220BX) Hot Drive! $429 

8x2x20 Sanyo CD Rewritable 

Internal drive (CDR8X2X20S) S3 1 9 

External drive (CDR8X2X20SX) $369 

Internal drive w/software & 1 disk (CDR8X2X20SK) $339 

8x4x24 Yamaha CD Rewritable 

Internal IDE drive (YCRW8424E) $229 

Internal SCSI drive (YCRW8424S) S249 

External SCSI drive (YCRW8424SX) S309 

Int. SCSI drive w/software & 1 disk (YCRW8424WOW) S259 


IOMEGA I OOMB ZIP 

Internal IDE for PC (ZIP1 00A) $79 

Ext SCSI for PC or Mac (ZIP 100) $109 

External for PC parallel port (PPZIP100) $109 

External for USB port (ZIP100USB) $129 

100MB disks (ZIP100C) Qty 2-9/Qty 10+ S12/S10 

IOMEGA 250MB ZIP External 
SCSI for PC, Mac/Parallel Port (ZIP250/PPZIP250) S 1 69 
IOMEGA 2 Gig JAZ 

Int/Ext SCSI (JAZ2I/JAZ2X) $309/$3 1 5 

2 Gig Jaz Disk Sale! Qty 2-4/5-9/10+ S85/S80/S77 


2.5" LAPTOP HARD DRIVES 


L CD ROM DRIVES ] 

IDE CD ROM 

Speed Brand 

Model 

ms 

Int 

32x 

Teac 

CD532E 

85 

$50 

40x 

NEC 

CDR3000 

75 

$55 

48x 

Toshiba 

XM6702B 

85 

$59 

48x 

Mitsumi 

CRMCFX48X 

65 

$55 

52x 

Creative 

SBCD52 

100 

$59 

52x 

Kenwood 

UCR412 

90 

$98 

72x 

Kenwood 

UCR421 

WOW! 

$125 

SCSI CD ROM (We have externals too. Call) 

Speed 

Brand 

Model 

ms 

Int 

32x 

Teac 

CD532S 

85 

$87 

32x 

Plextor 

PX32TS(tray) 

85 

$95 

32x 

Plextor 

PX32CS(caddy) 

85 

$145 

40x 

NEC 

CDR3010 

85 

$79 

40x 

Toshiba 

XM6401B 

79 

$87 

40x 

Plextor 

PX40TS 

85 

$105 

52x 

Kenwood 

UCR415 

90 

$169 


WIDE 

HT 

Brand 

Model 

Price 

4.3GB 

8.45 

Toshiba 

MK4313MAT 

$159 

6.0GB 

9mm 

IBM 

DA206000 

$235 

6.4GB 

8.45 

Toshiba 

MK6411MAT 

$199 

9.0GB 

9mm 

IBM 

DA209000 

$345 

10.0GB 

12.5 

Toshiba 

MK1101GAV 

$275 

12.0GB 

9mm 

IBM 

DA2 12000 

$379 

12.1GB 

9.5 

Toshiba 

MK1214GAP 

$316 

15.0GB 

12.5 

IBM 

DA2 15000 

$535 

18.1GB 

12.5 

Toshiba 

MK1814GAV 

SCall 

18.1GB 

12.5 

IBM 

DA2 18000 

$555 

25.3GB 

17 

IBM 

DA225000 

$635 


72x Kenwood Call for details on this hot drive! 

Wide SCSI CD ROM 

40x Plextor PX40TSUW 85 $120 

Accessories 

IDE CD ROM esse with card & cable (HOTPORT) $129 
IDE CD ROM case for PCMCIA port (PCMCIACD) $1 29 


CD RECORDERS 


Plextor 4x12 

Int/Ext SCSI (PXWRITER/PXWRITERX) S289/S379 
Int kit w/controller, software, 1 disk (PXWRITERK) $3 1 9 
Teac 6x24 with 4MB buffer. 

Int SCSI w/controller, software, & 1 disk (CDR56S/6P) S299 

Sanyo 8x20 with software & 5 Free Disks! 
Int/Ext SCSI (CDR8X20S/CDR8X20SX) $299/$389 
Plextor 8x20 Packet Write, 4MB buffer, tray load 
Int/Ext w/soft. & 1 disk (PXR820T/PXR820TX) S329/S419 
Teac 8x24 Packet Write with 4MB buffer, tray load 
Int SCSI w-sft & 1 disk (CDR8X24TK) $289 

Ext in our case (CDR8X24TX) WOW! $379 


CD MEDIA 


Unbeatable Deals on CD Media! 

CD RECORDABLE MEDIA CDR-74 in jewel case. 

6x Budget 20 pack (CDR74B6-20) $25 

6x Budget 50 pack (CDR74B6-50) $65 

6x Budget 100 pack (CDR74B6- 100) $129 

8x Budget 20 pack (CDR74B-20) $23 

8x Budget 50 pack (CDR74B-50) $57 

8x Budget 100 pack (CDR74B- 100) $99 

8x 20 pack (CDR74-20) $30 

Bx 50 pack (CDR74-50) $73 

8x 100 pack (CDR74- 100) $139 

Bx Platinum 20 pack (CDR74PA-20) $43 

8x Platinum 50 pack (CDR74PA-50) $75 

8x Platinum 100 pack (CDR74PA- 100) $139 

CD REWRITABLE MEDIA CDR-74W in jewel case 
4x Budget 20 pack (CDR74WB-20) $41 

4x Budget 50 pack (CDR74WB-50) $89 

4x Budget 1 00 pack (CDR74WB- 100) $ 1 49 

4x 20 pack (CDR74W-20) $99 

4x 50 pack (CDR74W-50) $239 

4x 100 pack (CDR74W- 100) $479 

CD PRINTABLE MEDIA CDR-74 in jewel case 
4x Budget 20 pack (CDR74PB-20) $33 

4x Budget 50 pack (CDR74PB-50) $59 

4x Budget 100 pack (CDR74PB-100) $109 

8x 20 pack (CDR74P-20) $59 

8x 50 pack (CDR74P-50) $99 

8x 100 pack (CDR74P-100) $189 

NEW 80 MINUTE CD RECORDABLE MEDIA 
8x 5 pack (CDR80-5) 

8x 10 pack (CDR80-10) 

8x 50 pack (CDR80-50) 

8x 100 pack (CDR80- 100) 

Check out our unbeatable CD duplicator deals at 
dirtcheapdrives.com/dupe. 


mm cheap drives 

3716 Timber Drive, Dickinson, Texas 77539 
Local (281) 534-4140 - Fax (281) 534-6452 

Prices & specifications subject to change without notice. Shipping charges are 
nonrefundable. Returns must be in new condition and in original packaging. Defaced 
items may not be returnable. All returns are subject to a restocking fee. No refunds 
on software or special orders (items not listed in ad.) We reserve the right to refuse 
any sale. Personal checks held for clearance. ? 1 999 Dirt Cheap Drives. 


M- F: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 9am - 3pm, CST 
24hr secure online ordering at 
www.dirtcheapdrives.com 


We are a major supplier to Government, 
Educational, Fortune 1000, and 
Institutions. PO's and Bids accepted. 




7 inches 




Even with this much empty space. . . 
you can install a Backpack CD-Rewriter. 



When we say anybody, we mean ANYBODY 
can instantly write, play and re-write CDs 
at home or on the road. And from any 
IBM-compatible Pentium desktop 
or notebook. Our brainy parallel 
port technology offers both 
superior performance and 
universal fit. Simply plug the 
backpack cd-rw into your parallel 
printer port. Then plug your printer 
into the backpack cd-rewriter. As if 
that weren't easy enough, we're 
now the first and only to offer parallel 
port “hot pluggability," which means you 


can attach and detach the drive 
without restarting your computer! 

The backpack cd-rw writes 
and rewrites at 4x, just as fast as internal 
models, so you can make a full CD in 20 
minutes. It comes in two sleek versions, 
measuring about the same width as the 
average human head: the classic desktop 
model and the portable bantam. Our 
new PC Card adapter gives you the 
versatility of dual port connection 
and faster read-back speeds. 

Your biggest dilemma will be 
choosing which one to buy. 


•< 7 inches ► 


backpack cd 


IX/licraSolutions 

The portability leader. 


Ph: 800-293-1214 (US and Canada) 
or 81 5-756-341 1 , Fax: 81 5-756-2928 
Internet: www.micro-solutions.com 



PC WORLD 

WORLD CLASS 


Best Buy - 800.369.5050 • CDW - 800.736.4239 • CompUSA - 800.COMPUSA • CompUSA Direct - 800.514.4727 • Fry’s Electronics • Global Computer Supplies - 800.845.6225 
Micro Center -800.743.7537 • Micro Warehouse - 800.367.7080 • Midwest Micro - 800.413.9856 • Office Depot - 888.463.3768 • PC Connection, Inc. - 800.800.5555 • PC Zone - 800.258.2088 



Get Same-Day Shipping for 



Orders for in-stock items placed by phone by Midnight 
(E); or online by 10:00pm (E), Monday-Friday will be 
shipped SAME-DAY for OVERNIGHT DELIVERY! 

Micro Warehouse Finance 
Business Leasing Available! 


No down payment! 

Finance your entire system 
from hardware to software 
to warranty for as low as 

$23/Month! 

Plus, as your business grows or technology 
changes, you can add equipment to your * 

I lease, or trade up to an entirely new system! 

Ask about business leasing when you place your order. 

I MicroWarehouseFinance \ 

The smart business advantage 


I § Leases are only available to business customers with approved 
1 credit on product orders where at least one product totals $750 or 
I more. Lease payments are based on a 48-month Lease. Call today | 
| to see how you can quality. Lease terms are subject to change. 


Extended On-Site Support I* 


Here are seven great reasons to get 
complete system coverage: 

I 0 Toll-Free Technical Support 
Q Fast On-Site Support — uplifts mfr’s warranty to 
on-site 1 00% coverage for qualifying products 
I 0 Free Replacement — if unit cannot be repaired! 

0 No Deductible — 100% coverage on parts and labor! 
0 24-, 36- and 48-Mo. Coverage— available from 
date of purchase! 

I 0 Fully Insured — Program underwritten by an 
"A- Excellent" rated insurer 

I 0 Fully Transferable — Even if you move or sell the 
1 equipment, full coverage remains in effect. 


Cost of Computer 
and/or Peripherals 

Warranty Price 
(36 months) 

Ask for 
item # 

$701 - SI ,200 
$1,201 -$2,000 
$2,001 - $3,000 

$149.99 

$189.99 

$219.99 

MW3003 

MW3004 

MW3005 

Call your Account Manager for terms and other pricing options. 


*Note: This promotion is not a service agreement, but an out- 
I line of coverage available through Service Net Please call 
Micro Warehouse, Inc. for information and read the complete 
Service Agreement from Service Net, for exact coverages, 
terms, and conditions. Coverage begins after a manufacturer 
limits its warranty in any way. Plan not available on interna- 
tional orders. 


FREE Online Tech Support 
at www.warehouse.com 


SUPPORT 


CITV.COM 


RETURN POLICY — All items come with the MicroWAREHOUSE 
30-day Guarantee Against Defects. If your product is defective 
you must call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-925- 
6227 for a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number 
within 30 days of original invoice data Defective software will 
be replaced upon receipt of the defective product Defective 
hardware will be replaced or repaired at our discretion, except 
I for products from Compaq (1-800-652-6672), Tektronix (1-800- \ 
835-6100), or IBM (1-800-426-7378), computers from NECCSD 
(1 -800-632-4525), Sony (1 -888-476-6972) or Total Peripherals, 
Inc. (1-408-286-1777), or processors or motherboards from 
Intel (1-800-628-8686). These manufacturers must be 
I contacted directly, and will repair or replace products at their 
sole discretion. Should you return hardware to 
MicroWAREHOUSE from Compaq, IBM, NECCSD, Intel, Sony, 
Tektronix, or USA Flex, you will be assessed a 15% restocking 
fee which will be charged to your account. We cannot accept 
returns of Total Peripherals computers. All products must be 
returned in original packaging with documentation; shipping 
and handling charges are not refundable. 

CT, IL, NJ, and OH residents add applicable sales tax. 

Copyright© 1999 Micro Warehouse, Inc. Micro Warehouse, Inc. 

| is not responsible for typographical or photographic errors that I 
may appear in this ad. Item availability and price are subject to 
| change without notice. We reserve the right to limit quantities. 


TOREBOQSE 


YOUR 


SOURCE FOR PC HARDWARE, SOFTWARE, AND SUPPLIES! 


Top Brand Notebooks, Desktops, Printers, Monitors, 


sffl COMPAQ. IBM, SONY 


IBM ThinkPad i 1540 
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Only 

*18991 



litem #CP1 30531 

(jUj) 

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Celeron- 


> 433MHz Celeron" processor • Comes with Microsoft 


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• Windows 98 


Office 2000 Small 
Business Edition which 
includes Word, Excel, 
Outlook and Publisher. 

3M Privacy Glare Filter 
AC28450 $84.99 


COMPAQ. 


Compaq Deskpro EP 

* 999 ! 



Monitors sold separately. 


Item #CP13202 


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mNmrtt 


Kantek Deluxe Glare Filter 
AC24592 $34.95 


Pentium® III 500MHz 
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6.4GB hard drive 
64MB SDRAM 
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Windows 95/98 dual install 
Flexible desktop/ 
minitower chassis 


Mavica 

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• 14X optical zoom 


» 2X floppy disk drive 



Mavica FD73 

IN7834 

$499.95 

Mavica FD83 

IN7856 

699.95 

Mavica FD88 

IN7855 

899.95 

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IN7502 

999.95 


m 


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PACKARD 


HP Vectra VEi8 Desktop 


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* Pentium® III 500MHz processor 

* 8.4GB hard drive 

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TOSHIBA 


Toshiba Satellite 2100CDS 


Item #CP12838 


Only 

* 1189 ! 

vLeaselt! $35/mo. § 

* 400MHz AMD K6-2 Processor 

• 32MB SDRAM (exp. 192) «4.3GB 
hard drive • 512 KB Level-2 cache • 
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rl2.1" SVGA DSTN display • V.90/56K/ 
Rex modem • Microsoft Windows 98 


EPSON 8 


Epson Stylus 90 0 Prin ter 

Only 


*399 



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PA1844 


.. $34.99 


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* USB Compatible 

* Optional Networking 

* Smaller ink drops 

* Manufacturer's 1-year warranty 


□ 




100MB 10-Disk 
Multi-Color Pack 
Only $Q99! 

ITEM 9 per disk 

#BN5265 (10-pack only $99.95 ) 



5 assorted colors 


While supplies last. CD-Rs shipped in jewel cases with purchase. in eac h 10-Pack! j i 

LP400 Portable Projector 


I 


Only 

$OQQQ99 ! ,TEM#BUS1284 

Leaselt! $87/mo.^ 

6.8lbs. • 700 ANSI lumens • 800 x 600 SVGA resolution • Built-in speaker 



Internal 

shown 


l HP CD-R 20 pack 
j_BN6366 ..($1.59 each) $31.80 


Only 

289™ 


ITEM #DR11464 


• SCSI interface 

• 8 x 4 x 32 

(all speeds max. 
variable) 

• Blazing! 8X max. 
variable record 



















ONLINE SOURCE FOR TOP BRAND COMPUTER PRODUCTS! 


Get your own Online Ordering Center at: 
CorporateAdvantage.Warehouse.com 


Monitors and 
speakers 
sold separately 


•466MHz Celeron 
processor • 8.4GB HDD 

• 64MB RAM • 40X max. 

variable CD-ROM drive — 1 1 

• 56K modem • Windows 98 


Microsoft E9 


HEWLETT 

PACKARD 


TOSHIBA EPSON □ 


HEWLETT 

PACKARD 


Microsoft 


Windows 2000 


HP LaserJet 4050N 
Network Printer 


Leaselt! $41/mo.§ 


Windowszeo 


Wndwsjc® 


INCLUDES: 

. rQS oft Microsoft Word 2000 

iWjce2000:^ Microsoft Excel 2000 
Itendard ^ Microsoft Outlook 2000 

Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 

♦Price AFTER publisher’s $40 maii-in rebate for 
owners of a previous version. Before rebate: 
$199.95. Limit 5 rebates per customer, 
rebate coupon in box. Expires 12/31/2000. 


• Prints 17 pages 
per minute 

• HP ProRes 1200 for 
1200 dpi quality 

• 16MB RAM (exp. 200) 

• Prints up to 8.5" x 14" 

• Two trays with a 600 
sheet capacity 

• One open EIO slot 

• 10/100Base-TX 
Ethernet network 

$94.95 interface card 


Mi c „ r ° s ° ft Windows Microsoft 
2000 Server 2000 Prof 

• Increased reliability, ease of . Rp i iahi | itv an 
use, and manageability. 

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server ease Q f use , 

(with 5 Client Access Licenses) 

NT8304 $799.95 Microsoft Window 

UP4542:Upgrade $399.95 OP1075 

SI2608:Competitive Upgrade....$399.95 UP4546: Upgrade 

•Price AFTER Microsoft $70 mail-in rebate when you upgrade 'rom Windows NT Workstation 3.51 or 
4.0. Price before rebate is $169.95. Rebate coupon inside box. Offer expires 12/31/2000. 


liffliM 


MEMORY 


Authorized 

Reseller 


$249.95 


.$99.95* 


SDRAM 

DIMM 

IOOmhz 


Black Toner Cartridge 

PR13025 


^machines 

eMachines 433i Minitower 


3Com Palm Vx 
A Organizer 


Fits most ■T-L 
desktops WiH/i t; 

64MB memory 

only $249.95 


Prices 
subject to 
change. 


after $75 rebate 


ITEM #MY9370 J 


P| i ViewSoni^B| 


• 433MHz Celeron’ processor 
J • 4.3GB hard drive • 32MB RAM 

1 | • 40X max. variable CD-ROM 

• 56K Modem • Windows 98 
•Price AFTER $75 manufacturer’s mail-in rebate. Price before rebate is 
$474. Rebate coupon available at www.warehouse.com/rebale/emachines 
or call us at 1-800-390-0706. Offer expires 2/29/2000. 


Was$42T. 


Stylish, new sleek design - just .4" thin! 

Easy-to-read LCD display 

8MB memory to store all of your important data 

Rechargeable Li-ion battery lasts up to 

one month* ‘Battery life varies with usage. 


Palm V Series Hard Case 
AC26735 $39.95 


Monitors and speakers 
sold separately. 


Iomega 


VAJO 505 VE Notebook j Iomega Zip 250MB Drive 

i While supplies Only : Only 

I m (*13991) f!l C* 179 ^ 


19" (18" viewable) 

1600 x 1200 @ 76Hz 
Manufacturer’s 3-year warranty 
.26 dot pitch 


^after $100 rebate 

Leaselt! $44/mo. § 

333MHz Intel 
Celeron'” processor 
6.4GB hard drive 
64MB RAM 
56K modem 
10.4" XBrite XGA 
TFT display 


♦y • Ultra-portable design, 

56% smaller than 

• Connects to /i 

USB/PC Card ICA, 

liiSQUiiUfiii] * Weighs only 1 pound 

BUY NOW! v Zip 250MB disk 4-pack: ME8139 

PC card adapter: AC281 21 


CALL FOR A FREE COLOR CATALOG! 


•Price AFTER mfr's $100 maii-in rebate. Before rebate S1499. Rebate 
coupon available at www.warehouse.com/rebate/sony or call us at 
1-800-390-0706. Products must be purchased between 9/1/99 and 
1/31/2000. Rebate coupons must be postmarked by 2/29/2000. 


.only $69.95 
.only $39.95 


Xircom RealPort Integrated PC Card 


Targus Notepac Plus 

Onlv * Padded computer Mm 
, department W 

* Non-skid rubber feet ^ 

• Self-healing ammm 
nylon zippers MARt 

Call for other Targus_Cases _and_accessories. 


10/100+ 

Modem 56 t 

J fCapable of receiving data up to 56kbps. Actual send and receive speeds may vary. 


GET 

EXPRESS 
DELIVERY ^ 
OVERNIGHT! 


online: www.warehouse.com/pm 


In-stock items, call by midnight (E), 
or order online by 10pm (E) Mon.-Fri. 


Networking and Supplies from Leading Manufacturers! 


Item #BN7285 


Item #CP13951 


ITEM #DMD3563 


ITEM #AC19972 


ORDER 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK BY PHONE OR WEB SITE! 


■ 

Microsoft 

u 

Office 2000 














MARKETLINK 


The Direct Connection for Buyers 


Advertiser URL Page 



Abacus America, Inc. 

www.websolo.com 

209 

Advanced Battery 
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www.advanced-battery.com 21 6 

American Institute for 
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American Megatrends, Inc. 

www.ami.com 

207 

American Microsystems 

www.amltd.com 

217 

Arm Group 

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209 

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207 

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MarketLink Sales: 1-800-336-2423 



A! !T/ S !/ 


Pioneer S201 DVD R Recorder 

4.7 GB capacity 
Write once technology 
(R/W available soon) 

Disc at once or incremental recording 


On board Dolby Digital AC-3 (2 channel) 
audio encoding 

MPEG 2 Layer 3 video encoding 
Easy to use GUI software for VTR control 


Static & motion menu creation with on the 
fly button creation 

UDF formatting without writing to hard disk 
Still picture creation with audio support 


peed 

'.•title**. 


A1ICR0B0ARD5 

Technology, Inc. 

Tel: 800 646-8881 • Fax: 612 556-1620 

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rZr* 

' " T - ■>,'****) 

1 as 1 

r~ | 

• • 

n 






| ‘1 

m 


206 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 



nAKUWAKt: BUAKua/cuwKurjtiNia/v.nira * iviAaa aiwKAijt » rKtatmAimiN cwuirwtiN 



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FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 207 


PREMIER 



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208 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 





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FEBRUARY 8 . 2000 PC MAGAZINE 211 


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EDUCATION • bcKVICcb: TRAINING/TUTORIAL 




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FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 213 


PREMIER 




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214 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 








HARDWARE: BAR CODING/POS • MISCELLANEOUS: SUPPLIES 


POINT OF SALE 
BARCODING 


Windows POS Bundle 

Windows POS Software f 
Barcode Scanner 
Receipt Printer 
Cash Drawer “ 



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wand reader 

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* Hotkey desktop translation or DLL for programmers 

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Wireless Readers 

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llPIWn 


Wireless Terminals 

RF Data Terminal 

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Keyboard Wedge Wand - $299 

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Laptop Laser Reader - $795 

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Portable Readers 

Batch Data Collection Unit 

• 256K unit with wand - $759 

1 Scan and key data to memory 
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1 Upload collected data to host 
computer - serial or keyboard 
1 2 built-in inventory programs 
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1 XModem serial upload 

• Windows and DOS uploading 
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unn ^ n 

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Worthington Data Solutions is now 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 215 


CLASSIFIED 














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FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 219 



CLASSIFIED 








THE PERSONAL SIDE OF TECHNOLOGY 





MP3 to Go 

BY MATTHEW GRAVEN AND JEREMY A. KAPLAN 


J ust about a year ago, the first portable MP3 players appeared on the market. 
Today, many more players are available, and trying to decide which is right 
for you can be overwhelming. To root out the wanna-bes of the MP3 play- 
er market, we tested seven players that were ready in time for our roundup. 
We found that sound quality didn’t vary noticeably among these devices. 
Instead, the players vary in storage capacity, supported storage media, and the type 
of connection used for transferring music files from your PC to each MP3 player. 
Ease of use, additional features like voice recorders and radios, LCD quality, and the 
general design of the players are also important. 

Of the seven products here, all but two rely on parallel-port connections, which are 
inconveniently slow compared with the USB connections offered by the Diamond Rio 
500 and the HanGo Personal Jukebox. We expect USB to catch on in this market quick- 
ly. In fact, several new USB-based players — the Creative Nomad II, Samsung Yepp, and 
Sony VAIO Music Clip and Memory Stick Walkman — just missed our roundup. 

As for storage media, most players use one of two competing formats: Smart 
Media or CompactFlash. Smart Media cards are smaller, but the largest-capacity CF 
card stores at least twice as much as the biggest SM card. 

With its generous storage space, USB connectivity, and industry-standard Smart- 
Media, the Rio 500 runs away with our Editors’ Choice. The Sensory Science 
raveMP 2100 earns an honorable mention for its excellent feature set and is a great 
choice for those who have older PCs that lack USB ports. 

In coming months we expect to see players that support copy protection. Also look 
for players that support additional music formats such as Microsoft’s Windows Media. 


Audiovox MPDj 
MP-1000 

The Audiovox MPDj MP- 
1000 includes 32MB of em- 
bedded memory, it supports 
SmartMedia cards, and it has 
an easy-to-read LCD with lots 
of information. On the nega- 
tive side are the MP-iooo’s 
physical design flaws: The unit 
is poorly constructed (ours 
began to separate at the seams 
after two days of use). 

Also, the memory slot 
cover does not snap in and 
is not attached, making it easy 
to misplace. And the player’s 



buttons are erratically placed, making the 
MP-1000 much less intuitive to use 

than others. Oddly, the MP-1000 
includes a microphone 
without offering a 
record feature. 

The software is easy 
to use, however, and the 
LCD displays a fair 
amount of information 
about the song being 
played. This is a 
very capable MP3 
Mlg player that is 
Jp limited by inferi- 
or design. — MG 

$180 street. Audiovox 
Corp., 800-290-6650, www 
.audiovox.com. • • 


Diamond Rio 500 



MAGAZINE 

EDITORS’ 

CHOICE 


Already in its second gen- 
eration, the Diamond Rio — 
the player that started the 
craze — proves its maturity 
with a fine collection of 
features in a well-designed 
body. The player wins our 
Editors’ Choice (besides having won PC 
Magazine's Technical Excel- 
lence award, December 
14, 1999). Though 
many MP3 
players, 
including 
the original 
Diamond Rio 
300, are some- 
what gimmicky in 
design, the Rio 500 
has a sleek, 
almost 
simple look. 

The controls 
are intuitive, and 
the LCD is the best in the 
group — a sizable screen with excellent 
backlighting and plenty of information. 

Like the Sensory Science raveMP, the 
Rio 500 includes 64MB of base memory 
and has a SmartMedia slot for additional 
storage. Also, the Rio 500 is one of only 
two devices in this roundup that use USB 
for transferring files (the other is the 
HanGo Personal Jukebox). 

The Rio 500’s software, RioPort Audio 
Manager, provides a well-integrated 
interface but is a bit convoluted and 
quirky to use. Otherwise, the Rio 500 is 
clearly a cut above the 
competition. — MG 


WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN 


$250 street. Diamond 
Multimedia, 800-468- 
5846, www.diamondmm 
.corn.##### 


»•••• - EXCELLENT j 
• ••• - VERY GOOD | 
• •• - GOOD | 

•• - FAIR § 

• - POOR I 


220 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8. 2000 






we would have liked more single-function 
buttons on the spacious console. 

The Personal Jukebox, durable 
and portable, is a great option for 
road trips and parties. Obviously, 
you should look elsewhere for a hand- 
held MP 3 player. — MG 
$800 street. HanGo Electronics Ltd., 714-525- 
0253, www.pjbox.com. • • • 


HanGo Personal 
Jukebox 

About four times the size of the shirt- 
pocket-size other players here, the HanGo 
Personal Jukebox includes a 4.86GB hard 
disk for storing music files. This translates 
into roughly 80 hours of music encoded at 
128 Kbps, far exceeding the 1- to 2-hour 
limits of the other devices reviewed here. 
The Personal Jukebox also supports USB 
for file transfer. 

With a built-in hard disk, 
the Personal Jukebox re- 
quires more juice than a 
pair of triple-A batteries 
can muster. Instead, it 
uses a rechargeable 
lithium ion battery; 
it can also run 
on AC power. 

The player’s 
LCD is by far 
the largest in 
this roundup, but 


l-Jam 

Arguably the best-looking player in this 
story, the I-Jam offers some nice extras, 
such as a built-in FM tuner. Unfortunately, 
design flaws hinder the player. The LCD is 
difficult to read and doesn’t list track 
titles. And the I-Jam provides no on-board 
memory, relying instead on SanDisk 
MultiMediaCards for storage: Two 16MB 
cards are included (each holding 24 min- 
utes of music, at a 96-Kbps encoding rate), 
but you can use only one at a time. 

We liked the external MultiMedia- 
Card reader, which allows for simple 
drag-and-drop file transfer to the 
I-Jam cards. But the buttons on the 
I-Jam are poorly labeled and control 
multiple functions awkwardly; for 
instance, the forward and rewind buttons 
also control the volume. The clunky but- 
tons combined with the device’s poorly 
implemented memory make the I-Jam 
little more than an expensive toy. — MG 
$220 street. I-Jam Multimedia LLC, 888-326- 
4526, www.ijamworld.com. • • 



1 SUMMARY OF 

FEATURES 




MP3 Players 

Audiovox 
MPDj MP 

■ YES □ NO 1000 

HanGo 

Diamond Personal 

Rio 500 Jukebox I-Jam 

Pine 

D’music 

SM-320V 

RCA/ 

Thomson 

Lyra 

Sensory 

Science 

raveMP 

2100 


Price 

$180 street 

$250 street 

$800 street 

$180 street 

$188 list 

$199 list 

$269 list 

Interface 

Parallel 

USB 

USB 

Parallel 

Parallel 

Parallel 

Parallel 

Included storage 

32MB 

64MB 

4.86GB 

32MB’ 

32MB 

32MB 

64MB 

Expanded 
storage media 

SmartMedia 

SmartMedia 

None 

SanDisk 

MultiMedia- 

Cards 

SmartMedia 

Compact- 

Flash 

Proprietary 

Batteries 
LCD information: 

2 AAA 

1 AA 

1 lithium ion 

2 AAA 

2 AAA 

2 AA 

1 AA 

Album title 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

Artist 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

Battery life 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

Bit rate 

■ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

Encoding format 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

Equalizer 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

Repeat mode 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

Storage space 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

■ 

Track title/ 
number/time 

■ ■ ■ 

■ ■ ■ 

■ □ ■ 

□ ■ ■ 

■ □ ■ 

■ □ ■ 

■ ■ ■ 

Volume 

■ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

■ 

Backlighting 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

□ 

Track organizer 

□ 

■ 

■ 

□ 

■ 

■ 

□ 


RED denotes Editors’ Choice. * The package includes two 16MB cards. 


QUICK CLIPS 


The Home Gene-Splicing Kit 


! 


! 


i 

i 


While the world debates the ethical issues, 
create your own genetic masterpieces with the 
Home Gene-Splicing Kit. Ever wondered what a 
cross between you and your hamster would look 
like? Scan in pictures, add them to the gene pool, 
and mix and match 
facial features. 

Then use the 
software to create 
postcards, a lab 
book, and other 
projects. Kids will 
love the workspace, 
complete with a 
toilet bowl where 
you flush your mistakes. Tool tips would help, 
and the mutant-creation process could be 
streamlined, but all in all, the program’s a lot of 
fun .— Nancy E. Hirsch 



$24.95 direct. You-Betcha Interactive Inc., 800- 
338-3844, www.genesplicing.com. • • • 


Dramatica Pro 4.0 

This program is an amazing tool for helping both 
professional and wanna-be screenplay writers 
create, deepen, and refine their stories. Previous- 
ly, the only downside was the time and effort 
required to learn the unique Dramatica theory of 
storytelling, with its sometimes baffling termi- 
nology. In Version 4, more easily understandable 
terminology has been added as an option, so you 
won’t be stopped 
before you start. 

Structure tem- 
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story forms have 
been added as 
well, and the 
online help system has been expanded to include 
the entire user guide . — Carol A. Mangis 
$399 list. Screenplay Systems Inc., 818-843-6557, 
www.screenplay.com. • • • • • 

Asheron’s Call 

Microsoft is turning out some great games 
these days. A case in point is Asheron’s Call, a 
lavish 3-D, online-only fantasy role-playing 
game. Players create their own avatars for the 
online game world, then embark on quests, 
hunt an array of dangerous monsters, and 
socialize with 
other players. 

Asheron’s 
Call is highly 
addictive and 
requires a 
serious time 

commitment 

I 

to be truly rewarding, but role-playing fans 
should love this game . — Michael E. Ryan 
$45 street plus $10 per month. Microsoft Corp., 
800-426-9400, www.microsoft.com. • • • • 



Dramatica Classes 


Situation 

Th; Part How Things 
The Future The Present 



Manipulation 

: Developing ■ Plan Playing a Role 
ChuigingOrw't N»i Concaving an Idea 


5 


FEBRUARY 8 , 2000 PC MAGAZINE 221 





AFTER HOURS PORTABLE MP3 PLAYERS 


Count the Minutes 

This table shows how many minutes of 
music you can store at various encoding 
bit rates with 32MB or 64MB of storage (the 
higher the bit rate the better the quality). 


Bit rate 

Minutes of musk 1 

(Kbps) 

32MB 

64MB 

160 

28 

56 

128 

35 

69 

96 

47 

95 

80 

56 

111 

64 

71 

142 



Pine D’music 
SM-320V 

The Pine D’music SM-320V 
wowed us with its good looks 
and low price, but unfortu 
nately, that positive first 
impression didn’t last. 

The player has some 
decent extras, includ- 
ing a key lock and a 
voice-record feature; and 
a model with a built-in FM 
tuner will soon be available. But the 
D’music suffers from quirky operation 
and design flaws. 

The player was unusually slow when 
downloading files, and it was too easy to 
erase stored music files accidentally. The 
D’music’s software needs refinement; it 
didn’t always recognize the presence of 
the unit, and it sometimes interrupted 
downloads for no reason. 

The D’music simply does not yet offer 
the quality and features to compete with 
the big boys —JAK 

$188 list. Pine Technology USA, 510-668-0378, 
www.pine-dmusic.com. • • 

RCA/Thomson 
Lyra 

Despite a cute design, 
the RCA/Thomson 
Lyra has some short- 
comings. For 
example, it’s 
relatively 
large, and its 
case feels flimsy. 

See It on ^TV’s 

THE SCREEN SAVERS 

Monday, January 24 www.thescreensavers.com 


Also, the Lyra takes almost 15 seconds to 
begin playing a song. And there is no base 
memory, though the player uses high- 
capacity CompactFlash cards (the list 
price includes a 32MB card). 

We liked the player’s large LCD and 
functional backlight. You can easily set a 
playlist, and the Lyra will retain the infor- 
mation even after you turn it off. The 
included Realjukebox software was easy 
to install, and once we connected the 
included CompactFlash card reader to 
our PC’s parallel port, we were able to 
select and download MP 3 files easily and 
quickly. The Lyra can play RealG2 music 
files as well as MP 3 files 

With 64MB of onboard storage 
and a sturdier case, the Lyra 
would be a great device. As 
it is, you’re better off with 
the Rio or raveMP. —JAK 
$199 list. RCA/Thomson Consumer 
Electronics, 800-336-1900, 
www.lyrazone.com. • • • 

Sensory Science 
raveMP 2100 

The Sensory Science raveMP 2100 is a 
darn good MP 3 player. With 64MB of 
base memory, the raveMP has plenty of 


storage space. Also, it can run on a single 
double-A battery for 12 to 15 hours. The 
player’s only limitation is a 
reliance on last year’s 
technology. 

The raveMP comes 
with stylish Sennheiser 
MX4 headphones. The 
software was easy to 
use, and download 
across the parallel 
port was notice- i 

/ 






ably peppier 
than with 
other 
non-USB 
players. In 
addition to 
storing music, the 
raveMP can store voice memos, 
phone numbers, and text notes. With an 
optional adapter, you can even download 
music from a stereo or guitar — a feature 
you won’t find elsewhere. 

The downside is that the player doesn’t 
connect through USB, and it uses propri- 
etary removable storage media. Instead 
we have to recommend the Rio 500, with 
its USB connection and SmartMedia .— JAK 
$269 list. Sensory Science Corp., 480-609- 
9200, www.sensoryscience.com. • • • • 


Tracking Down Tracks 




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F ans of alternative music are in luck 
when it comes to finding music on- 
line. Artists are increasingly relying upon 
the Web for hosting and distributing their 
music. Looking for the latest in under- 
ground sounds? Check out Epitonic.com 
(www.epitonic.com); IUMA, the Internet 
Underground Music Archive (www.iuma 
.com); and SpinRecords.com (www 
.spinrecords.com). 

One of the biggest mainstream music sites is Emusic.com (www.emusic.com), 
which also offers a great bundling deal on the Sensory Science raveMP 2000 player. 
Some other great MP3 sites include MP3.com (www.mp3.com), Riffage.com (www 
.riffage.com), RioPort (www.rioport.com), and ZDNet Music (music.zdnet.com). 

There are also a number of powerful MP3 search engines on the Web, including 
one hosted by Lycos (mp3.lycos.com). Another— Listen.com— is accessible through 
a number of URLs (www.listen.com is the simplest). You’ll still have to sift through 
some invalid links and personal Web pages, but for the most part, you’ll find a wealth 
of good information. Also try Audiogalaxy (www.audiogalaxy.com), which provides 
reviews and songs along with a great search engine. 

Many popular artists are already releasing samples of their music online. Check 
out the Beastie Boys’ online home (www.grandroyal.com) for their latest work. 
Public Enemy is also online (www.publicenemy.com). Finally, recording labels are 
getting in on the act: Your favorite Matador (www.matador.com), Lookout! Records 
(www.lookoutrecords.com), and Moon Ska (www.moonska.com) songs may just 
be available .— JAK 


222 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 




"I wanted the best protection 
available and APC delivered." 

- Fred Lugano, weatherization.com, Vermont 


8 million computer users can't be 
wrong about APC power protection 

Personal computer users across the country recognize APC 
as a leader in power protection. Now, home users are finding 
multiple uses for APC products. Some use their APC to run a 
television or small refrigerator during a disaster. Others will 
use their APC Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) as a "power 
bridge" to give them enough time to get their power genera- 
tors started. Still others will use APC to protect sophisticated 
audio and visual equipment from damaging electrical surges. 

Business users enjoy the dependability of APC, the $25,000 
equipment protection guarantee that comes with all APC 
UPSs, and the Lifetime Guarantee* that comes with all APC 
surge protection products. 

Visit your reseller or the listed retailers and try one today! 

** - ' ' • “ , .. 


APC provides legendary 
surge protection for all 
your equipment needs. 



Designed for 



Microsoft * 

Windows*98 



UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS 


A 




APC Back-UPS Pr<f 500: 

"APC's latest plugs into a USB port, making it 
completely painless to protect your PC from 
power snafus and electrical spikes. " 

- PC Computing 4/99 


An APC UPS gives you: 

• Enough outlets to protect your com- 
puter plus displays, printers, scanners 
and more 

• Emergency battery power for continuous 
uptime through brief power outages 
to help save your data 

• Telephone/network surge suppression 
to maintain your online connection 


• Auto-shutdown software which saves 
your files and data, even when you're 
away from your computer 

APC safety and reliability benefits: 

• User-replaceable batteries reduce 
service costs 

• Easy overload recovery 

• Site Wiring Fault indicator 


• Audible and visible alarms alert 
you to power events as they occur 

• $25,000 equipment protection 
guarantee (U.S. and Canada only) 
+ See policy for details 

• "Best in Class" longest runtime 
guarantee (5-40 minutes) 



You can find APC power protection products at these stores or visit httptfpromo.apcc.com and click on "how to buy" to find your nearest reseller. 


comm cdw} 


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DEPOT 


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Enter to win the APC Home Power Protection Package. 

Enter to win APC's legendary power protection for your entire home, home office or small business, a $3000 value! All entrants will also receive an "Are You at Risk" Kit. 
(See APC's Web site for complete promotion details) 

Enter now: Visit http://promo.apcc.com Key Code p943z • Call 888-289-APCC x8779 • Fax 401 -788-2797 

©2000 American Power Conversion. All Trademarks are the property of their owners. APC3E9CF-US • PowerFax: (800)347-FAXX • E-mail: apcinfo@apcc.com • 132 Fairgrounds Road, West Kingston, Rl 02892 USA 




experience 


PC Headset 

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TALK TO 

LISTEN TO MP3 

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NEW PC HEADSETS FROM PLANTRONICS® 

Listen to your music in complete stereo privacy. Add voice 
interaction to your multimedia games. Talk to your PC with 
crystal clear speech accuracy, or chat online in total comfort. 
Whatever you do with your PC, do it better with PC headsets 
that deliver the ultimate in comfort, style and sound quality. 
Simply choose the Plantronics headset that's right for you. 
Once you use one, you'll never use your PC without it again. 





^ Noise-cancelling microphones let you talk naturally to 
™ your PC or “chat” online with superior voice clarity 

^ Stereo headsets let you privately relax and listen to 
“ MP3 or CD music in a dynamic audio environment 

^ 40mm speakers and dynamic bass response 
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^ Lightweight, ear-cushioned comfort and QuickAdjust™ 
™ microphones give you a custom perfect fit every time 

Call today for the reseller nearest you or visit our Web site for more details. 


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^PLANTRONICS 

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Do you ftzi'/3 -ji’io'j'jfi 

r/m.MM'ftx ss ~ r3 ‘ c 


I i/I so foully 


OiLXi 


Hi 


PPP 


"We found on Dell Dimension PCs that 
a 266MHz Pentium II with 96MB of i 

RAM was similar in performance to a i 

550MHz Pentium III with 32MB of RAM." J 
ZDTag, the ZD Testing and Analysis Group m 

m 


©1999 Council on Computing Power 


AFTER HOURS PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY 




Flying High 


The KBGear SketchBoard Studio is a 
pressure-sensitive drawing tablet aimed at 
children aged 4 to 12. The package 
includes Disney Interactive’s excellent 
Magic Artist Studio software, but the 
tablet will work inside any Windows ap- 
plication. Using the SketchBoard takes 
some getting used to, but kids will eventu- 
ally love it . — Ben Z. Gottesman 
$59 list. KBGear Interactive, 612-941-1905, www 
.kbgear.com. •••• 


Smoother Online 
Gaming 


The U.S. Robotics Internet Gaming 
Modem (which doesn’t rely heavily on 
your CPU) has a firmware-encoded in- 
struction set designed to boost your 
Internet game performance. With its 
gaming mode enabled via an icon on 
your taskbar, the Internet Gaming 
Modem maximizes your connection 
speed while minimizing errors and pack- 
et loss . — Richard Brown 


PC Sketching 


Rubber 


NASCAR Pro Digital Racing Wheel has 

two pedals, a stick shift, four buttons, and two shifters — so 
you can accelerate, brake, and downshift without taking your 
hands off the wheel. Steering and pedal response are very 
accurate. All that’s missing is force feedback.— Vohn Delaney 


In a new game plan for the company, Microsoft 
Flight Simulator 2000 is available in both a Stan- 
dard version and an expanded Professional version. 
Both include new aircraft, improved worldwide 
scenery with realistic terrain and seasonal effects, 
and approximately 20,000 airports. The Profession- 
al version adds more aircraft designed for instru- 
ment flight, more cities with detailed scenery, and 
advanced utilities to customize aircraft appearance 
and handling. From improved clouds to a working 
GPS, this remains the sim to beat . — Alfred Poor 
Standard Edition, $60 direct; Professional Edition, $80. 
Microsoft Corp., 800-426-9400, www.microsoft.com/ 
games/fs2000. ••••• 


$139 list. 3Com Corp., 800-638-3266, $79.99 list. Guillemot, 514-279-9960, www.guillemot.com. • • • • 

www.3com.com. ••••• 


228 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2000 


We move the information that moves your world ? 


adoptee 



Easy CD 
Ckeatok'4 

D6t«XE 

\ f ■' •• 


You're Ready For 


Available at: 

Best Buy ■ CompUSA 
Fry’s Electronics • Office Max 
Micro Center • Staples 




Easy CD Creator™4 Deluxe goes way beyond the software that came with your CD-Recorder, 
and all earlier Deluxe editions. It provides powerful protection for all your vital information 
when you store it on CD. New included Take Two™ software makes it easy to back up 
your entire hard disk in just three easy steps, 
and quickly recover from hard disk crashes or 
virus infections. 

Now you can also pull MP3 tracks and other 


New Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe, Only $991, 


With $20 Competitive/Upgrade / Q 

Rebate Offer /s 


music from the Internet, as well as your favorites from LPs and cassettes, to create your own 
custom CDs. And you can edit and enhance photos and video. Do more with your data, music, 
photos, and video with Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe. It’s ready for you. 

For details on the Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe Rebate Offer, see your retail store or contact 
us at: http://cdr.adaptec.com/pcmagd or 1-800-442-7274 x2147 





Nobody will ever know you’re shopping 


Now you can visit thousands of 


stores without ever leaving your 


desk. Everything from Brooks 


Brothers to Sausage Express. 


So happy shopping. But hey. 




WinBook XL 3 “blazes” 

with Intel ® Pentium ® III Processor! 



Any WinBook 
notebook! 

Up To 


With Internet sign-up and 

establishment of an Vff™ 

E*TRADE account. 

See our website 

for details. Hurry, these are limited time offers! 


WinBook xl 3 

The WinBook XL 3 “blazes” with the 
Intel® Pentium® III processor. It’s 
packed with capabilities to run multime- 
dia applications better and enhance 
your Internet experience. Take your pick 
from these three XL 3 s running at 500 
or 650 MHz and with 64 or 128 MB of 
SDRAM. Choose a configuration with 
either a 12 or 18 GB hard drive. Yes, an 
18 GB hard drive, the largest we’ve ever 
offered in a notebook. These WinBook 
XL 3 s have the power you need — now 
and tomorrow! 


“WinBook XL3-An 
early entrant in the 
500 MHz Pentium 
III (processor) race 
blazes in with a 
boatload of RAM, 
high-end DVD, 32- 
bit color and much, 
much more. ” 

Portable Computing, December 1999 


Winner of over 190 awards 

Visit our website www.winbook.com 
for more award information. 


Features below are 
on all WinBook XL 3 s: 

• Thin (1.5") and Lightweight (7.4 lbs.) 

• 14.1" XGA Active Matrix Color Display 

• ATI 3-D RagePro Graphics Accelerator 
w/8 MB SGRAM 

• 56k* Capable v.90 Internal Fax/Modem 

• 45 Watt/hour Lithium Ion Smart Battery 

• 256k Integrated L2 cache On-chip 

• LS-120 SuperDisk" Drive (reads and writes 
floppy disks and 120 MB SuperDisks) built-in 

• 4x DVD-ROM Drive (reads CD-ROM, CD-R 
and CD-RW) built-in 

• Integrated Dual-Button Pointing Stick 
and Touchpad, both active simultaneously 

• 3-D PCI Audio 

• 2x AGP Graphics Port 

• Two Type II PCMCIA slots, CardBus and 
Zoomed Video supported 

• Parallel, Serial, PS/2, VGA, 2-way Infrared 
port, S-Video and TV out, USB 

• Kensington lock support 

• One-year Limited Extendable Warranty 

• Microsoft Windows® 98 Second Edition, pre-installed 



WinBook xl 3 


• Intel® Pentium® III processor 

• 500 MHz 

• 64 MB SDRAM, upgrade to 256 
•12 GB Ultra DMA Hard Drive 



No money down business lease 
*83 per month - 36 months* 



• Intel® Pentium® III processor 

• 650 MHz 

• 64 MB SDRAM, upgrade to 256 
•12 GB Ultra DMA Hard Drive 



No money down business tease 
s 100 per month - 36 months’ 



WinBook xl 3 


• Intel® Pentium® III processor 

• 650 MHz 

• 128 MB SDRAM, upgrade to 256 
•18 GB Ultra DMA Hard Drive 



No money down business lease 
*112 per month -36 months* 



Pentium®//! 

■ processor mam 


Critically Proven. 


Order Online at: a 

www.wmbook.com 


888 - 621-3423 


1 56k modems are capable of 56 kps downloads. Due to FCC rules that restrict power output, however, current download speeds are limited 
to 53 kps. Upload speeds are limited to 33.6 kps. Actual speeds may vary depending on line conditions. 

$ Monthly lease prices are based on a no money down 36 months lease: monthly payments do not include taxes, fees or shipping charges; 
subject to credit approval and availability. Lease terms subject to change without notice. Prices and specifications valid in U.S. only and 
subject to change without notice. All purchases are subject to availability. For a complete copy ol Guarantees and Limited Warranties, contact 
WinBook Computer Corporation or our website at www.winbook.com/wbcommerce/warranty.html. 

@2000 WinBook Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. WinBook is a registered trademark of Micro Electronics, Inc. Intel, the Intel 
inside logo and Pentium are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. E'TRADE is a registered trademark ol E’TRADE Securities. Inc. All other 
trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective corporations. 




The 3rd Generation of the Award-Winning CD Rocket 
"Winner of PC Magazine’s Best of 1998 Award!” 



Only with the Smart and Friendly CD Rocket Mach 12 will you find an 
unparalleled software suite of today's popular applications. The 
internal version is available with either an easy-to-install ATAPI inter- 
face, or an Ultra SCSI Plug-and-Play PCI Host Adapter. The external 

version includes an Ultra SCSI Plug-and-Play PCI Host Adapter. -internal A tapi Model 

Estimated Street Price 



Toll Free Tech Support! A 


“ The Smart and Friendly 
CD Rocket... is the 
fastest SCSI CD-R 
drive we’ve seen yet. ” 
Best Products of 1998, 

PC Magazine 


smartandMendly.com 

Toll Free: (800) 542-8806 




* Internal Ultra SCSI Model 

Estimated Street Price 

Actual prices may vary depending on 
location and date of purchase 


Smart and Friendly is a registered trademark and CD Rocket Mach 12 is a trademark of Smart and Friendly, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of the respective holders. Specifications subject to change without notice. 

Smart and Friendly products are available at: 

American TV • Best Buy • CDW • CompUSA • ComputAbility • Damark • DataVision • Fred Meyer • Fry’s Electronics • Insight Direct • J&R Computer World • Micro Center 
MicroWarehouse • Nationwide Computers • Nebraska Furniture Mart • NECX • Outpost.com • PC Connection • Staples • Value America • Wal*Mart 







Advertiser 

URL 

Pg. 

Adaptec 

www.cdr.adaptec.com 

229 

Advanced Micro Devices 

www.amd.com 

151 

Advanced Micro Devices 

www.amd.com 

153 

Advanced Micro Devices 

www.amd.com 

155 

American Power Conversion Corp. 

www.apcc.com 

185-186 

American Power Conversion Corp. 

www.apcc.com 

223-225 

Ameritrade 

www.ameritrade.com 

76A-B 

Appian Graphics 

www.appian.com/expand 

122 

Ask Jeeves 

www.askjeeves.com 

22 

Ask Jeeves 

www.askjeeves.com 

175 

Axis Communications 

www.axis.com 

134 

Bames & Noble 

www.bn.com 

86-87 

BOLData 

www.boldata.com 

70 

Cable and Wireless 

www.cableandwireless.com 

130 

Caliber Computer Corp. 

www.aimachine.com 

199 

Canon Computer Systems 

www.ccsi.canon.com 

20-21 

CDW Computer Centers, Inc. 

www.cdw.com 

89-92 

CDW Computer Centers, Inc. 

www.cdw.com 

140-143 

Compaq Computer Corporation 

www.compaq.com 

2-3 

Compaq Computer Corporation 

www.compaq.com 

124-127 

Compaq Computer Corporation 

www.compaq.com 

136-137 

Coollink 

www.coollink.com 

99 

Council on Computing 

www.RAMmatters.com 

227 

Creative Labs, Inc. 

www.creative.com 

57 

Crucial Technology 

www.crucial.com/pcm 

18-19 

Dell Computer Corporation 

www.dell.com 

C5-C8 

Dell Computer Corporation 

www.dell.com 

26-27 

Dell Computer Corporation 

www.dell.com 

81-84 

Dell Computer Corporation 

www.dell.com 

101-104 

Diamond Multimedia Systems 

www.diamondmm.com 

128 

Dirt Cheap Drives 

www.megahaus.com 

202 

Epson America, Inc. 

www.epson.com 

41-43 

Epson America, Inc. 

www.epson.com 

66-67 

Flashcom 

www.flashcom.com 

162 

Fujitsu PC Corporation 

www.fujitsu-pc.com 

54-55 

Gateway 

www.gateway.com 

52a -53 

Gateway 

www.gateway.com 

167-172 

Globix Corporation 

www.globix.com 

197 

Hewlett-Packard Color Printers 

www.hp.com 

4-5 

Hewlett Packard/HP Corporate PC's 

www.hp.com 

106-107 

Hewlett Packard/HP Corporate PC's 

www.hp.com 

109 

IBM 

www.ibm.com 

12-14 


Advertiser 

URL 

Pg- 

iGo.com 

www.igo.com 

116 

In Focus Systems, Inc. 

www.infocus.com/pcm 

44 

Inetcam 

www.inetcam.com 

48 

Interland 

www.interland.com 

193 

Ipswitch 

www.ipswitch.com 

110 

McAfee 

www.mcafee.com 

30 

McAfee 

www.mcafee.com 

73 

Mercury Sable 

www.mercuryvehicles.com 

25 

Micro Solutions 

www.microsolutions.com 

203 

Micro Warehouse 

www.microwarehouse.com 

204-205 

Microsoft 

www.microsoft.com 

C2-C4, pi 

Microsoft 

www.microsoft.com 

119 

MindSpring 

www.mindspring.com 

195 

NEC Computer Systems 

www.nec-computers.com 

35 

NEC Computer Systems 

www.nec-computers.com 

37 

NEC Technologies 

www.nec.com 

17 

NetLedger 

www.netledger.com 

6 

nVidia 

www.nvidia.com 

115 

PayMyBills.com 

www.paymybills.com 

120 

Plantronics 

www.plantronics.com 

226 

Proxim, Inc. 

www.proxim.com/pcm 

161 

Quantex Microsystems 

www.quantex.com 

68-69 

Quantum 

www.quantum.com 

74-75 

Quotesmith.com 

www.quotesmith.com 

138 

S.A.G./Storage Solutions 

www.sagelectronics.com 

28-29 

Scinet 

www.scinet.com 

132 

Smart and Friendly 

www.smartandfriendly.com 

232 

Sony 

www.sony.com 

59 

Sony 

www.sony.com 

61 

Sony 

www.sony.com 

63 

Sony 

www.sony.com 

65 

Sony Direct 

www.sony.com/direct 

46-47 

Sprint PCS 

www.sprintpcs.com 

23 

TDK 

www.tdk.com 

78-79 

Tech Smart.com 

www.tecksmart.com 

9 

Systemax 

www.systemaxpc.com 

10-11 

TigerDirect 

www.tigerdirect.com 

234-235 

VERITAS Software Corporation 

www.veritas.com 

94 

ViewSonic Corporation 

www.ViewSonic.com 

38-39 

ViewSonic Corporation 

www.ViewSonic.com 

51 

Winbook 

www.winbook.com 

231 


FEBRUARY 8, 2000 PC MAGAZINE 233 




OQ7.1 Ofifl 24 HOURS A DAY! 

09 I I LUU IN CANADA CALL: 800-888-6167 

THE INDUSTRY'S BEST TELEPHONE SUPPORT STATE! 


LOWEST PRICES— GUARANTEED! 


_ ^ AMAZINGLY LOW! 

AMD K6-2 475mhz 739 


99 


Editors' 

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[JNLIST 


Windows Magazine 1998 



ONE YEAR 
FREE 

INTERNET ACCESS 


[Tiger CredilCard 1 


^ 23 /mo, 


# TS3-M-51 A 

' Monitor sold separately 



Built With Premium 
Components In The USA 






All Tiger Systems 
Include... 

• High-Speed CD-ROM 

• 56K v.90 Faxmodem 

• Scrolling Wheel Mouse 

• Wavetable 3D Sound 

• Two 16550 Serial Port 

• One Parallel Port 

• 3.5" Floppy Diskette Drive 

• Amplified Speakers 

• 6-Bay Case w/235 Watt 
Power Supply or compact 
Micro ATX 4-bay case. 

• Windows 98 Pre-loaded 

• One-Year Depot Warranty 

• 100% Quality Components 



This Space Saving 
Compact Case 
Included With 
Selected Systems 

See Chart Below. 


BlackoutBuster UPS 

Protect Your Complete System! 


Item #P140-1000x . . . $99.99* 
*With the purchase of a 
TigerSystem 


24-HOUR TOLL-FREE TECH SUPPORT 

There are a lot of reasons to come to TigerDirect for your 
PC-product needs. We’ve got the largest selection— over 
40,000 items in stock and ready to ship from our state-of- 
the-art warehouse facility. We’ve also created one of the 
industry’s most popular brands of personal computers— 

TigerSystems, built with premium components and backed 
by our award-winning technical support staff. We also offer 
you convenient online shopping— we even publish our 
paper catalog to the Web for you to browse! And our guar- 
antee of satisfaction is among the best in the business. But 
at the end of the day, there’s just one reason why 
TigerDirect should be the company you trust with your busi- 
ness. 


And we make TigerSystems very easy to own— our prices 
are the best because you’re buying direct from the manu- 
facturer— us! We offer exceptional financing options, the 
best technical support and customer service in the business 
and the best prices on everything we sell, and that includes 
accessories, peripherals and more. And we guarantee what 
you’ll like the most is the service you receive. 


We Know Our Products! We're proud to have the most knowledgeable telephone sales 
staff in the industry. Training is the key. The bottom line is that when you call, you'll talk to 
people who can help you get through what can sometimes be a maze of technology. They 
make it seem easy. Knowing what you sell is just the beginning. Sure, we can answer any 
question you may have about any item in our catalog — but our goal is to make every cus- 
tomer feel at home. To be helpful and courteous. 


Knowledgeable Sales Professionals. There's a lot to know about today's technology — 
and howto get the most from it for your productivity and enjoyment. At Tiger we select the 
best and the brightest to answer your calls. Then we put them through rigorous training 
sessions. When you call and have a question, we have a helpful answer. Whether you 
want to know how to network your small office, which printer is best for your needs — or 
how the Internet works. We know, and we're happy to take the time to explain it to you in 
a way you'll understand — and appreciate. 


Award-Winning Systems. 

" Truly a power user's system.... " PC Magazine 
" Best Buy .. At this price, you might as well buy two !... ' 
" The Tiger (PC) would do well prowling small offices'' 


PC Computing 
PC World Online 


: Item# CPU 

Monitor 

RAM Hard Drive 

CD-ROM 1 Video 

Case Tiger Credit Cardt Tiger Price 


CTZTM44D AMD K6-300MHz 

15" 

32MB PC 100 

8GBUDMA 

44X 

AGP/8MB 

Compact 

$1 8/Month 

$579.99 


CTZTM55B AMD K6-2/400 3DNow! 

15" 

64MB PC 100 

8GBUDMA 

44X 

AGP/8MB 

Compact 

$20/Month 

$644.99 


CTZTM56C AMD K6-2/475 3DNow! 

15" 

64MB PC 100 

8GBUDMA 

44X 

AG P/8 MB 

Compact 

$21/Month 

$689.99 


CTZTM50C Celeron 400MHz 

15" 

32MB PC 100 

8GBUDMA 

44X 

AGP/8MB 

Mid-Tower 

$20/Month 

$649.99 


CTZTM57B AMD K6-2/400 3DNow! 

15" 

128MB PC 100 

12GB UDMA 

44X 

AGP/8MB 

Compact 

$23/Month 

$759.99 

— 1 ■ 

CTZTM51C Celeron 500MHz 

15" 

96MB PC 100 

12GB UDMA 

44X 

AG P/8 MB 

Compact 

$25/Month 

$829.99 


CTZTM42F Pentium III 450MHz 

15" 

96MB PC 100 

8GB UDMA 

44X 

AG P/8 MB 

Compact 

$26/Month 

$849.99 

— 

CTZTM43E Pentium III 500MHz 

17" 

96MB PC 100 

12GB UDMA 

44X 

AGP 3D 16MB 

Mid-Tower 

$33/Month 

$1069.99 


CTZTM45E Pentium III 550MHz 

17" 

96MB PC 100 

13GB UDMA 

44X 

AGP 3D 16MB 

Mid-Tower 

$37/Month 

$1219.99 


CTZTM46D Pentium III 600BMHz 

17" 

96MB PC 100 

13GB UDMA 

44X 

nVidia AGP 3D/16MB 

Mid-Tower 

$44/Month 

$1434.99 


CTZTM52D Pentium III 667BMHz 

17" 

128MB PC 100 

20GB UDMA 

44X 

nVidia AGP 3D/16MB 

Mid-Tower 

$50/Month 

$1634.99 


CTZTM59B Athlon 700MHz 

17" 

64MB PC 100 

13GB UDMA 

44X 

Voodoo 3 2000/16MB 

Mid-Tower 

$51/Month 

$1689.99 

— ■ ; 

CTZTM60B Athlon 750MHz 

17" 

96MB PC 100 

20GB UDMA 

44X 

Voodoo 3 2000/16MB 

Mid-Tower 

$56/Month 

$1849.99 


CTZTM53C Pentium III 733BMHz 

17" 

128MB PC 100 

20GB 7200 RPM UATA/66 

DVD 

SoundBlaster/32MB 

Mid-Tower 

$64/Month 

$2129.99 


t Monthly payments when purchased using the Tiger Credit card. Ask about spt 
event prices rise or fall. Call for warranty information. All systems include a 1 
acknowledged. Monitor viewable areas: 15"— 13.9". 17"— 15.8 . 


' CD-ROM speeds are variable maximum speeds are shown. Sorry, we do not offer price protection in the 
nty. See www.tigerdirect.com/warrantyforentirepolicy. Copyright, 1999, TigerDirect. All trademarks 
Now!, and combinations thereof, are registered trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. 


The MS-71 12S has all the features your looking for: 
ISSMHz bus support , AGP video port, 3D wavetable 
sound, 4 PCI/2 ISA expansion slots and 3 DIMM slots 
that support up to 768MB of SDRAM. Plus twin slots— J 
Slot 1 & Socket 370. 

Motherboard Includes: 

Motherboard with cable and manual. 


Tiger 

MATX 

741LMRT 

Socket 

370/ 

Slot 1 


M-741LMRT Micro-ATX SOCKET 370/Slot 1 
with Video, Sound, Modem & NIC on-board 


1MB Cache ; 
cables, manual 



Tiger 741LMRT Motherboard Features At-A-Glance 
Form Factor: M-ATX • CPU: Socket 370/Slot 1 

• Bus Speed: Up to 100MHz • On-board Video: 
AGP 8MB • On-board Audio: Yes • PCI Slots: 1 

• ISA Slots: 1 (Shared) • Memory: 3 SIMM 
•Max Memory: 768 MB 


Tiger 5EMA+ Motherboard Features At-A-Glance 
Form Factor: ATX • CPU: Socket 7 • Bus 
Speed: Up to 100 MHz • AGP Slots: 1 • PCI 
Slots: 5 • ISA Slots: 2 • Memory: 3DIMM 
Sockets • Max Memory: 768MB 


MOTHERBOARD SPECIFICATIONS 


Motherboard Desiqn 


Tiger 598 AT 

1MB Cache, Wave Table 
sound and AGP On-board 


Processors Supported 


AMD Up to K6-2/500; K6-III/400 
Intel Pentium up to 233 MMX 
IBM/Cvrix Up to PR333 


Tiger M599LMR M-ATX 

512KB Cache, Wave Table 
sound and AGP On-board 


AMD Up to K6-2/450; K6-III/450 
Intel Pentium up to 233 MMX 
IBM/Cvrix Up to PR366 


Tiger 5EMA+ 

Super Socket 1 

1MB Cache and AGP Port 


AMD Up to K6-2/500; K6-III-450 
Intel Pentium up to 233 MMX 
IBM/Cvrix up to Mil 366 


Tiger 7112 ATX 
Slot 1 w/AGP Port 


Celeron up to 500MHz 
Intel Pentium III up to 733MHz 


Tiger 741LMRT ATX 
Slot /w/AGP On-board 


Celeron up to 500MHz 
Intel Pentium III up to 600MHz 


MOTHERBOARD ONLY 

1-2 3-5 6 + 

Item No. units units units 


MB1-E-9B S82.99 S79.99 


MB2-M599LMR S82.99 S79.99 


Build Your System 

WITH A 

Rugged Tiger Case! 

All cases accept Micro ATX, 

ATX or AT motherboards. All 
include large power supplies, 

Spacious designs. 


MB1-T-7B $83.99 $78.99 


MB2-MS7112C $89.99 $84.99 



MB2-741LMRT $103.99 $98.99 


Description Units 1-2 

Compact Case 6-Bay 230-W P/S $43.99 
Mid-Tower Case 6-Bay 230-W P/S $54.99 
ATX Full Tower 9-Bay 300-W P/S $79.99 



pTTH PCI M odem B l owo ut! 

r % 


56K, v.90 & X2 
Fully Compatible 
PCI Modem With 
Voice Features! 


Power Your Motherboard With A Premium Processor! 


AMD K6-2 with 3DNow! M" 

AMD K6-2 Processors u„t 

3 -dr" 
Units 

~ b units 
or more 

#CP2-K62-300 300 3DNow! $34.99 

$32.99 

$29.99* 

#CP2-K62-333 333 3DNow! $41.99 

$37.99 

$34.99** 

#CP2-K62-350 350 3DNow! $49.99 

$45.99 

$42.99* 

#CP2-K62-400 400 3DNow! $56.99 

$52.99 

$49.99* 

#CP2-K62-450 450 3DNow! $68.99 

$64.99 

$61.99* 

#CP2-K62-475 475 3DNow! $94.99 

$89.99 

$84.99** 

#CP2-K62-500 500 3DNow! $119.99 

$112.99 

$107.99* 

#CP2-K62-533 533 3DNow! $166.99 

$156.99 

$148.99* 


Intel Celeron, 
Pentium II & III 


Intel Celeron, Pentium II & III Processors 


Pentium & Cyrix Mil 

Tiger recommends From 

the AT or a Super 
Socket 7 mother- v 
board with these ChV 

processors. 

Pentium & Cyrix Mil units 

#CP2-6X300 Mil 300 CPU S39.99 

3-5 6 units 

Units or more 

$34.99 $29.99 

#CP2-P233 Pentium 233 CPU $46.99 

$43.99 $39.99 

#CP2-K62-30 K6-2 300 3DNow! $34.99 

$32.99 $29.99* 



TCI -5501 56k Faxmodem $19.99*1 

*Limit 2 at this price 


EMORY SALE! 


Item t Description 


TC1-6000 Floppy (Beige) $19.99 



$17.99 


Cooling Fan SALE! 


3 * 

penUiw/// 


*** Celeron CPUs 
are socket 370 for- 
mat and require a 
fan and adapter 
(see far right) to be 
used in any slot 1 
motherboard. 


#CP1-CI366 

#CP2-CI400 

#CP2-CI500 

#CP2-P3-450 

#CP2-P3-500 

#CP2-P3-550 

#CP2-P3-600 


Intel Celeron 366 processor (370) 
Intel Celeron 400 processor (370) 
Intel Celeron 500 jprocessor (370) 
Intel Pentium III 450 processor * 
Intel Pentium III 500 processor * 
Intel Pentium III 550 processor * 


1-2 

-Units- 


$54.99 

$79.99 

$174.99 

$249.99 

$287.99 

$429.99 

$549.99 


Intel Pentium III 600 processor 1 
#CP2-P3-600B Intel Pentium III 600 B processor tt $559.99 
#CP2-P3-733B Intel Pentium III 733 B processor tt $949.99 


$49.99 

$45.99 

$74.99 

$69.99 

$164.99 

$154.99 

$239.99 

$229.99 

$272.99 

$249.99 

$407.99 

$379.99 

$519.99 

$479.99 

$529.99 

$489.99 

$889.99 

$829.99 



Protects your CPU against 
the damaging effects of heat! 


Item # Size 1-2 3-5 6+ 

TC1-MEM-32 32MB PC100 SDRAM $45.99 $44.99 $43.49 
TC1-MEM-64 64MB PC100 SDRAM $86.99 $84.99 $82.99 
TC1-MEM-128 128MB PC100 SDRAMS173.99 $171.99 $169.99 

Note: In order to bring you these low unheard of prices on premium bulk 
memory, we have negotiated returns for defective exchange only and a 
20% restocking charge on all returns with our memory vendor. We will 
pass these policies on to all retail sales of bulk memory. Call for PNY 
Branded Memory prices. Prices are subject to change. 


Item f Description 1-2 

3-5 

6+ 

A216-1010 Socket 7 Fan 

$5.99 

$5.49 

$4.49 

A216-1002 Slot 1 Fan 

$5.99 

$5.49 

$4.49 

CI-PPGA370 Celeron Slot 1 Adapter $8.99 

$7.99 

$7.49 


Quantum 


Supports Socket 7 AMD, Intel, Cyrix/IBM CPUs. 

Sorry, but as prices are always changing on CPUs and memory, we do not offer price protection in the event prices rise or fall. ^Requires 100MHz bus mother- 
board and 8ns PC100 SDRAM Memory. ** Requires 95MHz bus motherboard and 8ns PC100 SDRAM.. ttRequires 133MHz bus motherboard and 8ns PC100 
SDRAM Memory, t CD-ROM speeds are variable, maximum speeds are shown. Call us for details and warranty information. No returns accepted on CPUs. 


|6.4M06"| 
HARD DRIVE DLOWOUT! 

Item f Manufacture Size Units 1-2 3-5 6+ 

THD-64C Quantum 6.4GB $110.99 $108.99 S106.99 
THD-102C Quantum 10.2GB $130.99 $128.99 S126.99 
THD-19Q Quantum 19GB $159.99 $149.99 S139.99 






1. Tiroler 
Email-Museum 

Qesclxnke - Abzdclxn 
Schilder-Zifferblattci' 




Backspace 

— ■ — — L 

WHERE PC STANDS FOR PEST CONTROL 

Edited by Don Wilimott 


Greetings from 
Austria’s Tirol 
region, where 
they have 
museums for 
everything. 


owner later reported. 


( The Bergen Record .) 





CLASSIFIED 

INTELLIGENCE 

“Growing international educational 
software company in Hampden 
seeking a person w/experience in 
Basic and VD. Non-smokers only.” 
(The Boston Globe.) 


You know what they say: The shinbone’s 
connected to the knee bone. 

( Compaq Safety and Comfort Guide.) 


A Dial-Up Networking connection was started by another application, 
in order to connect to ’CS3 connection’, the connection to ’CS3 Connection’ 
must be disconnected. 

Yes, I want to connect to ’CS3 connection’. 

No, 1 want to use existing connection. 

From Norton Antivirus Live Update, 
an error message for the ages. 




O Top News Story 


Japan Launches Nuke 


-I I xj 


A AOL Search Preview 


Easier & Fasted 


When the AOL 
search box pops 
up in awkward 
locations, news 
headlines can 
take on whole 
new meanings. 


Carouse? Never heard it put that way 
before, but it sounds fun to us! 

Boulder [Colorado] Daily Camera.) 


If your entry is used, we'll send you 
$50 and a PC Magazine T-shirt. Send 
your entries to Backspace, PC Maga- 
zine, 28 E. 28th St., New York, NY 
10016-7930 or via e-mail to don__ 
willmott@zd.com. Winners this issue: 
Ken Craven, Andre Felix, Roy Kratzke, 
Scott Menard, Jon Pfeifer, Tristam 
Pye, and Chad Vanaman. 


PC Magazine, ISSN 0888-8507, is published twice a month except in July and August at $49.97 for one year. Ziff-Davis Inc., 28 E. 28th St., New York, NY 10016-7930. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY 10016-7930 and 
at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Address changes to PC Magazine, RO. Box 54093, Boulder, CO 80328-4093. The Canadian GST registration number is 14049 6720 RT. Canada Post International Publications Mail 
Product (Canadian Distribution) Sales Agreement No. 266477. Printed in the U.S.A. 


236 PC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 8, 2Q00 




LET’S SEE, POWER 
OR CONVENIENCE? 
CONVENIENCE OR 
POWER? 



LIFE IS FULL OF TIMES WHEN YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO. THIS 
ISN’T ONE OF THEM. IN FACT, THERE’S QUITE A BIT OF CAKE HERE. BASICALLY WHAT 
YOU CAN GET IN THE NEW DELL® INSPIRON™ 7500 NOTEBOOK IS A PENTIUM® III 
PROCESSOR AND YOUR CHOICE OF A 15 INCH SXGA+ HIGH-RESOLUTION SCREEN, OR 
A 15.4 INCH SXGA SCREEN - OUR LARGEST YET. AND WITH 4-SPINDLE CAPABILITY, 
YOU CHOOSE WHICH COMBINATION OF DRIVES WORKS BEST FOR YOU (LIKE YOUR 
ZIP, DVD, HARD DRIVE, AND FLOPPY RUNNING AT THE SAME TIME). SO YOU’LL HAVE 
ALL THE MULTIMEDIA, MEMORY, SPEED, AND RAW POWER OF MANY FULL-SIZED 
DESKTOPS IN THIS HANDY TRAVELING SIZE. YES, COMPROMISE IS FOR THOSE WHO 
CAN’T DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT. 


Inspiron" 7500 (R500VT) NEW DELL® INSPIRON ™ 7500 Notebook 

PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Mobile Desktop 

Award, 10/99 ■ Intel* Celeron"" Processor at 433MHz 

■ 15" XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ 64MB SDRAM, 4.8GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Removable Combo 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM and Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 4MB ATI RAGE Mobility™- P 3D Video 

■ Lithium Ion Battery 

■ NEW Microsoft® Works Suite 2000 with Money 2000 Standard 

■ Microsoft* Windows* 98, Second Edition 

■ 3-Year Limited Warranty 7 

/■) f f \ i Business Lease 15 : $7 4/Mo. ,36 Mos. 

/ / i&S E-VALUE CODE: 04233-890121 


WW W, D E L L. C OM ■ 1.800.348.6149 



B use the power of the e-value™ code. 

Match our latest technology with our latest prices. 
Enter the e-value code online or give it to your sales 
rep over the phone, www.dell. com/eva l u e 


Phone Hours: M-F 7a-9p - Sat 10a-6p ■ Sun 12p-5p CT 

In Canada,’ call 800-233-0702 • In Mexico,’ call 01-800-021-4531 - GSA Contract #GS-35F-4076D 



BE DIRECT™ 

d eu 

www.dell.com 


BRINGING GREAT VALUES HOME 



DEU4me 


The DelUme^ total ownership 
experience; a complete resource 
for products and services that 
make it easy for you to get the 
most out of technology. 

SOFTWARE AND 
PERIPHERAL UPGRADES 

■ HP 895 printer, $299; others start at $149 

■ Family Fun 5-pack” featuring Star Wars 
Rogue Squadron, S99 

■ Quicken Power 3-Pack, $89 

■ Intel® PC Camera ProPack, $129 

DELLNEP M INTERNET ACCESS 

■ Dellnet Internet Access 44 with 20MB of 
Online Backup 55 

■ Simple Drag and Drop website creation 
tool with 12MB of homepage storage 

■ Over $350 worth of special offers for Dell 
consumers with popular online retailers 

PAYMENT SOLUTIONS 

■ Dell Platinum Visa 9 

■ 48-month Dell Purchase Plan 33 

■ Dell E-Check (automatic checking 
withdrawal) 


NEW DELL® DIMENSION 9 XPS B733r Desktop 
Cutting Edge Technology 

■ Intel® Pentium® III Processor at 733MHz 

■ 128MB ECC PC700 RDRAM at 356MHz 

■ 27.3GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ 17" (16.0" vis, .26dp) M780 Monitor 

■ A/EW32MB NVIDIA geFORCE 4X AGP Graphics 

■ 8X Max 10 Variable DVD-ROM Drive with FREE $20 
DVD Movie Offer 37 

■ NEW SB Live! Value Digital with MusicMatch* 

Jukebox Enhanced 75 

■ NEW Harman Kardon HK-595 Surround Sound Speakers 
with Subwoofer 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI Telephony Modem for Windows 

■ 1-Year Dellnet SM Internet Access 44 Service with 20MB of 
Online Backup 55 

dr O "70 O & As low as S76/Mo..for 48 Mos. 33 
7. 7 7 7 sSs E-VALUE CODE: 04232-500127h 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 19" (17.9“ vis) P991 FD Trinitron 5 Monitor 

■ 8X Max 10 Variable DVD-ROM Drive and Decoder Card with TV Out 

■ NEW Altec Lansing THX Certified ADA885 Dolby Digital 
Speakers with Subwoofer 

Add $389 E-' VALUE CODE: 04232-500131 u 

DELL® DIMENSION® L500r Desktop 

Affordable Desktop Solution 

■ Intel® Pentium® III Processor at 500E MHz 

■ 64MB SDRAM at 100MHz ■ 6.4GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEW 17" (16.0" vis, .28dp) E770 Monitor 

■ Intel® 3D AGP Graphics ■ 48X Max 8 Variable CD-ROM Drive 

■ SoundBlaster 64V PCI Sound Card with 
MusicMatch’Jukebox Standard 33 

■ harman/kardon HK-195 Speakers 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI Telephony Modem for Windows 

it / / O Cy As ,ow as S33/Mo.,for 48 Mos. 33 

«P#f 7 7 Se E-VALUE CODE: 04232-5001 11 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 13.6GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Altec Lansing ACS-340 Speakers with Subwoofer 

■ 1-Year Dellnet SM Internet Access 44 Service with 20MB 
of Online Backup 55 

• Add $209 E- VALUE CODE: 04232-5001 14u 

DELL® DIMENSION ® L433c Desktop 
Affordable Desktop Solution 

■ Intel® Celeron’" Processor at 433MHz 

■ 64MB SDRAM at 100MHz ■ 4.3GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEW 15" (13.8" vis) E550 Monitor ■ Intel 1 3D AGP Graphics 

■ 40X Max 5 Variable CD-ROM Drive 

■ SoundBlaster 64V PCI Sound Card with MusicMatch* 
Jukebox Standard 33 

■ harman/kardon HK-195 Speakers 

■ V.90 56K Capable” PCI DataFax Modem for Windows 

<t QOO As low as $25/Mo.,for 48 Mos. 33 

O 7 7 ^ E-VALUE CODE: 04232-500108 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 6.4GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEW 17" (16.0" vis, .28dp) E770 Monitor 

■ 1-Year Dellnet SM Internet Access 44 Service with 20MB 
of Online Backup 55 

Add $189 E-VALUE CODE: 04232-5001 lOu 


DELL® INSPIRON ™ 7500 Notebook 
Mobile Desktop 

■ NEW Intel® Pentium® III Processor at 500MHz 

■ 15” SXGA+ Active Matrix Display 

■ 96MB 100MHz SDRAM 

■ NEW 12GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive (75GB Max 42 ) 

■ NEW Removable Combo 32X Max 56 Variable CD-ROM 
and Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility’ M -P 3D Video 

■ 3D Positional Sound with Wavetable 

<£ 00^0 As low as S89/Mo.,for 48 Mos. 33 

4* W 7. *T 7 V? E-VALUE CODE: 04232-800132a 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ lnspiron ,M 7500 Advanced Port Replicator 

■ harman/kardon Speakers 

Add $289 E-VALUE CODE: 04232-800 135c' 

DELL® INSPIRON ™ 7500 Notebook . 

Mobile Desktop 

■ NEW Intel® Pentium® III Processor at 500MHz 

■ 15” XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ 96MB 100MHz SDRAM 

■ NEW 6.0GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive (75GB Max 42 ) 

■ Removable Combo 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM 
and Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility' M -P 3D Video 

■ 3D Positional Sound with Wavetable 

■ Internal PCI 56K Capable” V.90 Fax Modem 

0,0 /Q , As low as $79/Mo., for 48 Mos. 33 
7 O 7 7 W E-VALUE CODE: 04232-800128 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ 12GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ NEW Quicken® 2000 PowerPack 

Add $289 E- VALUE CODE: 04232-800131 

DELL® INSPIRON ™ 3700 Notebook 
Light Weight, Light Price 

■ Intel 1 Celeron'" Processor at 433MHz 

■ 14.1" XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ 32MB SDRAM 

■ 4.8GB* Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Modular 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility , “-M1 3D Video 

■ 3D Positional Sound with Wavetable 

I Q (y O As low as $52/Mo.,for 48 Mos. 33 

7 7 m E- VALUE CODE: 04232-800118 

Dell Recommended Upgrade: 

■ Custom Leather Carrying Case 

■ Second Lithium Ion Battery 

■ Targus Defcon Notebook Alarm 

Add $239 E-VALUE CODE: 04232-800121c 

lnspiron 1M Notebooks include: 

■ McAfee VirusScan 4.02 

■ Microsoft® Windows® 98, Second Edition 

■ NEW Microsoft® Works Suite 2000 with 
Money 2000 Standard 

■ Lithium Ion Battery 

■ NEW i-Learn My Dell® PC 

■ 3-Year Limited Warranty 2 

■ MusicMatch® Jukebox Standard 38 


Dimension® Desktop Systems include: 

■ NEW Microsoft® Works Suite 2000 with Money 2000 Basic 

■ McAfee VirusScan 4.02 ■ 3.5" Floppy Drive 

■ Microsoft® Windows® 98, Second Edition 

■ Keyboard ■ Mouse ■ 3-Year Limited Warranty 2 

■ 1-Year At-Home Service 3 WWW. DELL. COM 


1 . 800 . 348.6149 


^Monthly payments based on sales price depicted for 48-mo. term at 13.99% APR. NOT ALL BUYERS WILL QUALIFY FOR THIS APR. 
APR for qualified customers varies by creditworthiness of customer as determined by Dell Financial Services L.P. Payments 
exclude taxes and shipping charges that vary. Taxes & shipping charges due with 1st payment unless included in the amount 
financed, in which case your monthly payment will be higher. Purchase Plan offered through Dell Financial Services L.P., 14050 
Summit Dr., Austin, TX 78728, to U.S. state residents (including D.C.) with approved credit, excluding AR and MN residents. 
Availability may be limited or offer may vary in other states. 

includes one (1 ) free upgrade and online support from MusicMatch. 42 To achieve 75GB Max. hard drive capacity on the Inspiron 7500, you must purchase 
a 25GB internal primary hard drive and the 25GB HDD option for both the 2nd and 3rd hard drive bays. Note that the Inspiron 7500 notebook must be used 
on AC power when utilizing the 75GB Max. hard drive configuration. “Includes 150 hours Internet access per month with a S1.50 per hour charge for each 
hour (or fraction thereof) over 150 hours. Remote subscribers subject to an additional charge of S4.95 for each hour of Dellnet £M service. Excludes 
applicable taxes and local/long distance telephone access fees or charges. Additional SI .00/hr. surcharge for Dellnet service in HI and AK. 55 0nline Backup 
services are provided by a third party, and such services are provided subjectto terms and conditions between such a third party and the customer. Limited 
to 20MB of online storage space; additional storage space available for additional charge. Dell disclaims any responsibility for lost customer data. 
*13.8X Min. Intel, the Intel Inside logo and Pentium are registered trademarks; Pentium III Xeon and Celeron are trademarks of Intel Corporation. MS, 
Microsoft, BackOffice, IntelliMouse, Windows NT and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. 3Com is a registered trademark and 
Fast EtherLink is a trademark of 3Com Corporation. HP and DeskJet are registered trademarks and OpenView is a trademark of Hewlett Packard 
Corporation. Trinitron is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation. ©1999 Dell Computer Corporation. All rights reserved. 


BE DIRECT™ 

d eu. 


www. del I. com 



COMPLETE SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS 


NEW DELL POWEREDGE 9 2400 Server 
Workgroup Server 

■ Intel* Pentium® III Processor at 533MHz (up to 667MHz) 

■ Dual Processor Capable ■ 64MB 133MHz ECC SDRAM (up to 2GB) 

■ 9GB 4 7200 RPM Ultra-2/LVD SCSI Hard Drive (up to 36GB 4 10K) 

■ Up to 180GB 4 Hot-swappable Internal Storage Capacity 

■ Embedded Single-channel RAID with 64MB Cache 

■ Integrated NIC & SCSI Controllers; 40X Max 5 CD-ROM 

■ HP" OpenView " NNM Special Edition 

■ 3-Year NBD On-site 3 Service; 7X24 Telephone Tech Support 


$3289 


^ Business Lease $110/Mo.,36 Mos. 
& E 'VALUE CODE: 04232-290132 


■ Redundant Hot-swap Power Supplies, add $100 

■ Microsoft* Windows NT* Server 4.0, add $799 

DELL POWEREDGE • 1300 Server 
Entry Level Server 

■ Intel* Pentium* III Processor at 500MHz (up to 700MHz) 

■ Dual Processor/RAID Capable 

■ 64MB 100MHz ECC SDRAM (up to 1GB) 

■ 9GB 4 7200 RPM Ultra-2/LVD SCSI Hard Drive (up to 36GB 4 ) 

■ 108GB' Internal Storage Capacity 

■ NIC & Integrated SCSI Controller; 40X Max 5 CD-ROM 

■ HP* OpenView'" NNM Special Edition 

■ 3-Year NBD On-site 3 Service; 7X24 Telephone Tech Support 


$1649 


Business Lease 5 : $55/Mo.,36 Mos. 
E-VALUE CODE: 04232-290116 


i Small Business Upgrade Bundle, add $1897 
Bundle Includes: MS BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5, 
Modem, Training on CD-ROM & System Support 


NEW DELL* PRECISION ” Workstation 220 
Advanced Performance, Specialized Graphics 

■ Intel* Pentium" III Processor at 533MHz (up to 733MHz) 

■ Dual Processor Capable 

■ 64MB PC800 RDRAM at 400MHz (up to 512MB) 

■ 9GB 4 10,000 RPM Ultra-2/LVD SCSI Hard Drive (up to 36GB 4 10K) 

■ Dual 17" (16.0" vis) P780 Trinitron* Monitors (up to Flat Panel) 

■ 32MB 4X AGP Matrox G400 Max Graphics Card 

■ Integrated NIC & Sound; 48X Max 16 Variable CD-ROM 

■ Microsoft* Windows NT* Workstation 4.0 

■ 3-Year NBD On-site 3 Service; 7X24 Telephone Tech Support 


$3129 ^ E- L 


Business Lease 1 ': S105/Mo.,36 Mos. 
VALUE CODE: 04232-490131a 


■ Second Intel* Pentium® III Processor at 533MHz, add $479 

DELL 0 LATITUDE • CPt Notebook 

Network-Optimized Notebook 

■ Intel® Celeron'" Processor at 466MHz 

■ 14.1" XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ 32MB SDRAM, 4.8GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Modular 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM/Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI Mobility Video 

■ Dual Pointing-Touchpad and Pointing Stick 

■ Lithium Ion Battery with ExpressCharge'" Technology 

■ Microsoft* Windows NT* Workstation 4.0 

■ 1-Year Next-Business-Day On-site 3 Service 


$1899 m e* u 


Business Lease 15 : $64/Mo., 36 Mos. 
VALUE CODE: 04232-7901 18 


■ CD-R/RW with Formatted Media, add $299 

■ Deluxe Nylon Carrying Case, add $69 


DELL® OPTIPLEX‘ > GXIIO Desktop 


NEW DELL® INSPIRON “ 3700 Notebook 



Phone Hours: M-F 7a-9p ■ Sat 10a-6p ■ Sun 12p-5p CT ■ In Canada’, call 800-233-0702 
In Mexico’, call 01-800-021-4531 ■ GSA Contract #GS-35F-4076D 

Pricing not discountable. ’Prices and specifications valid in U.S. only and subject to change without notice. 
Tor a complete copy of Guarantees or Limited Warranties, write Dell USA L.P., Attn: Warranties, One Dell 
Way, Round Rock, TX 78682. 3 At-home or on-site service provided via service contract between customer and 
a third-party provider, and is not available in certain remote areas. Technician will be dispatched if necessary 
following phone-based troubleshooting with technical support personnel. Other conditions apply. Tor hard 
drives GB means 1 billion bytes; total accessible capacity varies depending on operating environment. 
;, 17X Min. 7 10X Min. 8 20X Min. ,0 2.5X Min. ’’Download speeds limited to 53Kbps. Upload speeds are less (in the 
30Kbps range) and vary by modem manufacturer. Speeds also vary depending on line conditions. Analog 
phone line and compatible server equipment required. ,5 Business leasing arranged by Dell Financial Services 
L.P., an independent entity, to qualified customers. Above lease payments based on 36-month lease, and do 
not include taxes, fees, shipping charges; subject to credit approval and availability. Above lease terms sub- 
ject to change without notice. I6 20X Min. “Software packaging and documentation differ from retail versions. 
“Limited time offer. Includes one (1 ) DVD title (max. $20.00 total value, including tax and shipping charges) with 
purchase of a new Dell system with a DVD-ROM drive. Internet access required to register for the offer; 
see details at www.dell.com/dellzone. Offer must be redeemed within 60 days from the date of system invoice. 


Performance Managed PC at a Great Value 

■ Intel* Pentium' III Processor at 500MHz (up to 733MHz) 

■ 64MB SDRAM at 100MHz (up to 512MB) 

■ 6.4GB 4 SMART II Ultra ATA-66 Hard Drive (up to 20GB 4 ) 

■ 15” (13.8" vis) E550 Monitor (up to Flat Panel) 

■ Intel® 3D AGP Graphics, 24X Max 7 CD-ROM 

■ OptiFrame’” Small Form Factor Tool-less Chassis 

■ Integrated 3Com® 10/100 NIC 

■ Microsoft* Windows NT* 4.0 

■ Remote Client Manageability Support via DMI 2.0 

■ 3- Year Next-Business-Day On-site 3 Service 


$1299 e- u 

■ Upgrade to 13.6GB 4 SMART 

■ 100MB Zip Drive, add $89 


Business Lease’ 5 : $44/Mo.,36 Mos. 
VALUE CODE: 04232-390112 


I Ultra ATA Hard Drive, add $60 


Light Weight, Light Price 

■ Intel* Celeron " Processor at 433MHz 

■ NEW 12.1“ XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ 32MB SDRAM, 4.8GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Modular 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM/Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility ,M -M1 3D Video 

■ Dual Pointing-Touchpad and Pointing Stick 

■ Lithium Ion Battery with ExpressCharge'" Technology 

■ NEW Microsoft® Works Suite 2000 with 
Money 2000 Standard 

■ Microsoft* Windows" 98, Second Edition 

■ 3-Year Limited Warranty 2 


Business Lease’ 5 : $57/Mo.,36 Mos. 
E-VALUE CODE: 04232-890116 


$1699 


DELL® OPTIPLEX 9 GX100 Desktop 

Affordable Managed PC 

■ Intel* Celeron"' Processor at 433MHz (up to 500MHz) 

■ 64MB SDRAM at 100MHz (up to 512MB) 

■ 4.3GB 4 SMART II Ultra ATA-66 Hard Drive (up to 15GB 4 ) 

■ 15" (13.8" vis) E550 Monitor (up to Flat Panel) 

■ Intel® 3D AGP Graphics 

■ OptiFrame " Small Form Factor Tool-less Chassis 

■ Integrated 3Com* 10/100 NIC 

■ Microsoft* Windows NT* 4.0 

■ Remote Client Manageability Support via DMI 2.0 

■ 3-Year Next-Business-Day On-site 3 Service 


$899 


Business Lease’ 5 : $30/Mo.,36 Mos. 
VALUE CODE: 04232-390108 


NEW DELL® INSPIRON 7500 Notebook 
Mobile Desktop 

■ Intel® Celeron’" Processor at 433MHz 

■ 15" XGA Active Matrix Display 

■ 64MB SDRAM, 4.8GB 4 Ultra ATA Hard Drive 

■ Removable Combo 24X Max 7 Variable CD-ROM 
and Floppy Drive 

■ 2X AGP 4MB ATI RAGE Mobility™- P 3D Video 

■ Lithium Ion Battery 

■ NEW Microsoft* Works Suite 2000 with 
Money 2000 Standard 

■ Microsoft* Windows* 98, Second Edition 

■ 3-Year Limited Warranty 2 


Business Lease 55 : $7 4/Mo. ,36 Mos. 
: E-VALUE CODE: 04232-890121 


$2199 


I 24X Max 7 Slimline CD-ROM, add $49 


pentium®/// 


USE THE POWER OF THE E VALUE™ CODE. 

Match our latest technology with our latest prices. 
Enter the e-value code online or give it to your sales 
rep over the phone, www.de ll.com/eva l u e 



LIKE GETTING 
R PLANE TICKET 
GRADED TO 
AIR FORCE ONE. 



For the Fourth Consecutive Year 
Dell® Desktops receive an "A" Rating 
for Service and Support — 

PC Magazine, 7/99 


USING SOME PC'S IS LIKE FLYING FIRST CLASS. THEN THERE IS THE SENSATION OF 
FLYING IN ONE OF THE MOST ADVANCED, LOADED, HIGH-TECH PLANES ON THE 
PLANET. THAT'S KIND OF WHAT IT'S LIKE USING A DELL® SYSTEM FEATURING THE 
LATEST INTEL® PENTIUM® III PROCESSOR WITH I33MHZ SYSTEM BUS, AND NEWLY 
DEVELOPED RDRAM TECHNOLOGY. ALL THAT MEANS FASTER OVERALL PERFORMANCE 
AND VASTLY IMPROVED MULTI-TASKING. BUT TO REALLY UNDERSTAND, YOU'LL HAVE 
TO FLY IT FOR YOURSELF. PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS AND PUT YOUR TRAY IN 
THE UPRIGHT POSITION. 


NEW DELL® DIMENSION • XPS B Series Desktop 
State-Of-The-Art Desktop For Maximum Productivity 

■ NEW Intel" Pentium® III Processor at 533EB MHz (up to 733MHz) 

■ NEW 133MHz System Bus and Advanced Transfer Cache 

■ 128MB ECC P700 RDRAM at 356MHz 

■ 13.6GB 4 7200 RPM Ultra Hard Drive (up to 37.5GB 4 ) 

■ 17" (16.0" vis) M780 Monitor (up to Flat Panel) 

■ 32MB 4X AGP Graphics Card; 48X Max’ 6 CD-ROM 

■ Microsoft 3 Windows® 98 and Office 2000 Small Business 

■ 3-Year Ltd. Warranty/ 1-Year Next-Business-Day On-site 3 Service 


$ 1879 


Business Lease’ 5 : $63/Mo.,36 Mos. 
" VALUE CODE: 04251-590118 


i 15" (15.0" vis) 1501FP Digital Flat Panel Display (as Shown), add $705 
1 Premium Sound Card and Speakers, add $59 



pentium®/// 


WWW. DELL.COM ■ 1.800.348.6149 


USE THE POWER OF THE E-VALUE™ CODE. 

Match our latest technology with our latest prices. 
Enter the e-value code online or give it to your sales 
rep over the phone, www.dell.c om/eva l u e 


Phone Hours: M-F 7a-9p • Sat 10a-6p ■ Sun 12p-5p CT 

In Canada,' call 800-233-0702 ■ in Mexico,' call 01-800-021-4531 - GSA Contract #GS-35F-4076D 



BE DIRECT™ 

d eu. 

www.dell.com